Follows months of discussions between TFT, Climate Advisers, Wilmar and Unilever.
As of January 2019, The Forest Trust has become Earthworm Foundation.
Wilmar, Asia’s largest agribusiness company, commits to No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation, while protecting High Carbon Stock and implementing Traceable Sourcing Policy for both its own plantations and third party suppliers.
SINGAPORE – Climate Advisers and The Forest Trust (TFT) today joined Asia’s largest agribusiness company, Wilmar International, and consumer products leader, Unilever, to announce an agreement to protect forests and communities through its new policy. Crucially, the policy applies not only to Wilmar’s own operations, but also to its subsidiaries and third-party suppliers. As part of its commitment, Wilmar will work with suppliers to immediately move development activities away from High Carbon Stock (HCS), peat, and High Conservation Value (HCV) lands.
The announcement represents a vital new approach for Wilmar International, which stands astride the global palm oil industry through its control of 45 percent of palm oil trade, and is a significant player in other commodities like sugar and soybeans. The announcement sets a responsible path forward for one of the most environmentally intensive commodities on earth.
The policy includes numerous provisions to change the way commodities are sourced:
No Deforestation: No more cutting down the rainforest for agricultural production.
No Exploitation: Protect the rights of workers and communities, including the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
Protects High Carbon Stock landscape, including peatlands of any depth.
Protects High Conservation Value forests: No more clearing of forests that are habitat for endangered species, such as orangutans, Sumatran tigers, elephants, and rhinos.
Throughout the process of developing these policies, TFT and Climate Advisers were at the table working for the strongest possible commitments. This policy follows a decade of aggressive and effective advocacy for sustainable and responsible palm oil by nonprofit organizations around the world, recently including Climate Advisers’ campaign affiliate Catapult and the Forest Heroes Campaign.
“Six months ago, fires from out-of-control deforestation in Indonesia choked Singapore and much of Southeast Asia – fires made possible by a no-questions-asked palm oil sector. This agreement could mark the start of a new ‘Green Revolution’ that provides the deforestation-free agricultural goods global consumers are increasingly demanding,” said Glenn Hurowitz, Managing Director of Climate Advisers and Executive Director of Catapult. “Wilmar’s partnership with TFT signals that they’re serious about implementation.”
“Few companies dominate their sectors the way Wilmar dominates palm oil, controlling 45 percent of global trade. Today’s announcement by itself transforms the industry,” said TFT Executive Director Scott Poynton. “It dwarfs in ambition any previous joint commitment in the sector and raises the bar for responsible global agricultural production. We commend Wilmar for their strong new policy, and now is the time for transparent and verifiable implementation.” Today’s major change to the global palm oil supply follows similar changes in demand from consumer-facing companies. In 2010, Nestlé was the first company to commit to eliminating deforestation and exploitation from its supply chain. Just last month, Unilever committed that 100% of the palm oil used in its supply chain would by fully traceable to known sources by the end of next year; and global chocolatier Ferrero announced it had become a TFT member and is working to make sure that its supply chain has no link to deforestation by the end of 2014. Earlier this year, one of the world’s largest buyers of palm oil, Neste Oil, announced its No Deforestation Guidelines and is working with TFT to roll out the guidelines across its supplier base.
Palm oil is a $50 billion a year commodity that makes its way into half of all consumer goods on the shelves. It is in chocolate, baked goods, soaps, detergents, and much more. U.S. imports have increased almost fivefold over the past decade. 85 percent of palm oil is grown on industrial plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, home of some of the largest remaining rainforests in the world. Clearing tropical forests for these plantations threatens the world’s last Sumatran tigers, as well as orangutans, elephants, rhinos and the tens of millions of people who depend on these rainforests to survive. Because of deforestation, Indonesia is the third largest emitter of global warming pollution in the world, behind only China and the United States.
The Forest Trust (TFT) was founded by Australian forester and supply chain expert Scott Poynton in 1999. TFT is a global nonprofit that works with businesses to help them bring responsible products to market. TFT works on the ground, in the forests – and in the boardroom with CEOs – to help change the way they operate, designing and implementing commitments to transparency and sustainability.
About Climate Advisers
Climate Advisers was founded by Nigel Purvis, a former U.S. climate diplomat. It is a mission-driven policy and politics shop working to deliver the low-carbon economy. In the United States and around the world, Climate Advisers creates and implements large-scale, cost-effective policy and political strategies to strengthen climate action and improve lives. Its team includes globally recognized thought leaders on climate and energy, forests and lands, and sustainable development. We work with philanthropies, think tanks, advocacy groups, international institutions, companies and governments. On specific projects, such as our palm oil transformation effort. Climate Advisers partners with its campaign affiliate Catapult to add grassroots organizing and outreach capacity.