One Reason Wilmar’s Policy Shift is So Important: Peat

By Joel Finkelstein
Forests & Lands, Political Strategy

In the wake of Wilmar’s landmark policy shift away from deforestation and peatland development, a bizarre new effort to push for irresponsible palm oil production underlines just why the new policy is so important.

The Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (Soppoa) “firmly rejected” the agreement forged by Wilmar and Unilever to stop trading palm oil grown on ultra-high-carbon peatland. Putting aside the question of whether palm oil growers are in any position to “reject” a private agreement between two companies responding to consumer demand, Soppoa makes possibly the single worst argument they could make: they deny the science that developing peat land releases tremendous amounts of greenhouse gas.

For the record:

In the end, it seems clear that Soppoa understands they don’t have a strong case to make. Wilmar’s policy shift is important for a number of reasons, but promoting an end to peat land development for palm oil is perhaps one of the most direct and impactful. Soppoa should take this opportunity to review its practices and grow palm oil in ways that meets consumer demand.

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On December 5, 2013

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