Ask Nestle, Unilever & Neste Oil to stop buying illegal palm oil -& write to Nick Clegg while you’re about it

Please sign this Rainforest Rescue-drafted email and send it to the management of Nestlé, Unilever and Neste Oil, asking them to cancel their business relationship with the corporate group IOI.

Illegal rainforest clearance to make way for palm oil plantations

Rainforest Rescue reports that:

“one thousand people on the Indonesian island of Borneo have lost their forest. It was illegally cleared by the corporate group IOI that supplies Nestlé, Unilever and Neste Oil with palm oil. All three companies publicly pride themselves for their so-called “sustainability”.

Rainforest Rescue partner Nordin, head of the organization Save Our Borneo (SOB), has collected plenty of watertight evidence against the criminals. He is preparing to file a case and the local government is backing him. However, to prevent more damage elsewhere, the palm oil Mafia’s profit stream has to be cut off. This is where Nordin needs our support. 

Please call on Nestlé, Unilever and Neste Oil to cancel their business relationship with IOI.”

Sustainable palm oil?

Rainforest Rescue says:

“The IOI group is a founding member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an association which supposedly stands for sustainable palm oil. IOI itself promised not to clear any more rainforests for oil palm plantations from 2007 onwards. However, IOI is often criticized due to land expropriation, illegal clearing and the destruction of orangutan habitats.

IOI’s partner Bumitama Gunajaya Agro Group (BGA) via its subsidiary PT Hati Prima Agro is doing the dirty work of clearing the rainforest for oil palm plantations without the necessary permits, as our partner Nordin has carefully documented in reports and photographs. On April 24th, 2012 the head of district Bupati revoked PT HPA’s permit.

It is a common strategy among palm oil companies to continuously establish new subsidiaries or to become key stake holders in other companies in order to make it more difficult to prove their illegal activities.”

Write to Nick Clegg while you’re about it – Unilever’s Chief Executive was in the official UK delegation to Rio +20

Unilever’s Chief Executive Paul Polman was part of the official UK delegation to Rio +20last week, presumably on the grounds that the company represents ethical environmental and social businesses.

As such, he was formally representing UK citizens and voters. If you’re not happy with being represented by Unilever in an important global forum which was set up to negotiate and agree on the world strategy to reduce and adapt to climate change, you can write to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who represented the UK government at Rio+20 and was the opening speaker at the Rio+20 Natural Capital Dialogue, which also gave the platform to Paul Polman

Sample email to the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP

This is a copy of the email I’ve just sent him. You’re welcome to use it or customise it:

Dear Nick Clegg

I’m writing to protest against the inclusion of the Unilever Chief Executive Officer in the official UK delegation to Rio+20. 

Unilever is supposedly an environmentally and socially ethical company, and at the Rio +20 Natural Capital Dialogue event, Paul Polman said that the Natural Capital Declaration  showed “much needed leadership” towards “ a more sustainable, equitable form of capitalism.”

However, Unilever has failed to make sure it sources its palm oil from legal and ethical sources. Rainforest Rescue has evidence from research in Indonesia that Unilever has been buying palm oil from the corporate group IOI, which has illegally cleared land in Borneo in order to create palm oil plantations.

In addition, palm oil is an incredibly unhealthy foodstuff. Almost half of it consists of saturated fats and it also contains fatty acid esters (3-MCPD and glycidol fatty acid esters) that are considered carcinogenic. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has issued a warning against consuming the substances contained in palm oil.”

So what with dispossessing traditional farmers in Borneo and posing a health risk to the British public who eat foods containing palm oil, Unilever doesn’t look like such a great example of a more sustainable, equitable form of capitalism. I am deeply unhappy at the UK government’s decision to include Unilever as part of the official UK delegation to Rio +20.”

Natural Capital Declaration 

(Natural Capital? Isn’t that a bit of a paradox?)

At the Natural Capital Dialogue, Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever said:

 “The world urgently needs a shift to a more sustainable, equitable form of capitalism, but we cannot do this without the financial sector, whose lending and investment decisions determine whether our natural capital is further depleted or enhanced. The Natural Capital Declaration is a very welcome demonstration of much needed leadership in this area.” 

 Leaving aside the incongruity of putting “financial sector” in the same sentence as “sustainable, equitable”, Unilever’s failure to make sure it sources its palm oil from legal and ethical sources casts doubt on the idea that Natural Capitalism will prove to be a “more equitable, sustainable form of capitalism.”

Although the World Bank spin is that the Natural Capital Declaration puts a value on nature, World Development Movement argues convincingly that in fact it prices natural resources in order for the 37 transnational companies that signed up to it, to be able to profit from them. The Natural Capital Declaration also opens the way to the

“creation of nature ‘derivatives’ that would allow the financial sector to turn the natural world into a giant casino.”

Why do we need palm oil anyway? It’s incredible unhealthy

And there’s the whole question of why we need to use palm oil anyway.

Maybe a consumer boycott of products that use palm oil would be a good idea? Palm oil is incredibly unhealthy.

Rainforest Rescue points out that:

Almost half of palm oil consists of saturated fats, which can trigger high cholesterol and heart disease, and are generally regarded as fattening. Palm kernel oil, which is often used for cocoa icings, ice cream confectionary and caramel, even contains up to 80 percent saturated fat.

Palm oil also contains fatty acid esters (3-MCPD and glycidol fatty acid esters) that are considered carcinogenic. Concentrations of such hazardous substances are especially high in refined palm oil, an ingredient in infant formula. Popular chocolate hazelnut and chocolate spreads also tend to contain a lot of palm oil. Children are especially vulnerable in this regard because of their low body weight in relation to the quantity of the harmful substances they absorb. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has issued a warning against consuming the substances contained in palm oil.”

Posted from London, England, United Kingdom.