2009 archive
UN Climate Conference closes without adopting 'Copenhagen accord'
Copenhagen: A disaster for the world's poorest
Danish PM tries to derail UN climate talks; Friends of the Earth suspended from the conference
Friends of the Earth suspended from UN climate talks
The angry mermaid winner is...
Africa moves to stop rich country power grab and protect kyoto targets
Statement on police tactics in Copenhagen
Five thousand people Flood Copenhagen for Climate Justice
Climate Capsule: People from around the world demand climate justice now
Public vote closes on Sunday for angry mermaid award
Obama to Receive Prize Based on Promise He Has Failed to Keep
Europe must commit to at least 40% reductions by 2020 without offsetting
Leaked Copenhagen accord text profoundly unjust
40% domestic emissions cuts in europe by 2020: feasible and affordable
Two million want climate justice in copenhagen
We can feed the planet and save the world
Rich countries scheme to ditch Kyoto targets
Friends of Earth International calls on President Obama to earn his Nobel
Angry Mermaid award to expose business lobby undermining climate action
First International Climate Justice Tribunal Started
climate talks regress
Rich Countries Try to Dodge Climate Obligations
Halt to Palm Oil Investments Welcomed
'Sustainable Palm Oil' advert false, says watchdog
Environmentalists Welcome World Bank President's Halt to Palm Oil Investments
Shell violates OECD Guidelines in the Philippines
Speechless novel Launched
European Union urged to reconsider its role in Central America
climate crisis: Politicians must find just solutions
Carbon Offsetting Exposed as Con
public warned over 'Green Soy' scam
new research reveals that shell is the world’s most carbon intensive oil company
a welcome shift in united nations views on food sovereignty
ShellGuilty Campaign Launched
photo competition winners announced
World Forests Rapidly Disappearing
Negative impacts of monoculture tree plantations on women
‘biodiversity photo competition starts today
Friends of the Earth International Calls for an End to the Violence in Gaza
You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2009 / Halt to Palm Oil Investments Welcomed

Halt to Palm Oil Investments Welcomed

Jakarta, Indonesia, September 11, 2009 -- Friends of the Earth International welcomed the announcement by the IFC, the World Bank's private sector arm, that it will stop all palm oil investments.

“Investments in large-scale oil palm plantations lead to deforestation and human rights violations”, said Torry Kuswardono of Friends of the Earth Indonesia/WALHI. “We are encouraged that the World Bank Group is finally recognizing the problems, and we hope that other banks will follow suit.”

The World Bank Group statement was unveiled in a letter from its president Robert Zoellick, responding to an appeal from Indonesian and international NGOs. [1]

The 28th August letter announces suspension of all World Bank private sector arm funding for palm oil until a revised strategy for the financing of this troubled sector is in place.

A coalition of local and international NGOs, spearheaded by the UK organization Forest Peoples Program, [2] had previously filed a complaint at the IFC's internal watchdog, the Compliance Advisory Ombudsman office (CAO) about a series of loans to palm oil giant Wilmar International.

A joint report by three NGOs (Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Kontak Rakyat Borneo and Gemawan), which examined Wilmar's plantations in Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, found that the company is working with dubious licenses, and is entangled in land rights conflicts and illegal logging activities. [3]

The complaint triggered an audit by the CAO, which concluded that the IFC had violated its own procedures, and that commercial interests had overruled the IFC's environmental and social standards. [4]

In his letter, World Bank Group President Zoellick states that “until we have a new strategy in place, IFC will not approve any new investments in palm oil. I have also asked IFC to review the environmental and social performance of all portfolio investments in palm oil.” [5]

“This assessment should be applied to other monoculture agrofuels plantations. We encourage other banks to follow the World Bank's step and review such investments," said Friends of the Earth International's Torry Kuswardono.

This was the second blow to the agrofuels sector this week. On Wednesday, Friends of the Earth International welcomed the banning by the UK Advertising Standards Authority of an advert by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council claiming palm oil is “sustainable”. This was the result of an earlier complaint filed by Friends of the Earth International. [6]

A note on agrofuels

Friends of the Earth groups from Indonesia to Colombia have fought for years for an end to destructive large- scale palm oil plantations and their financing. The large- scale expansion of palm oil plantations is responsible for the destruction of forests and peatlands, high carbon dioxide emissions, and land grabs from indigenous peoples.

Palm oil is prominent not only in the food and cosmetics industry, but is increasingly used as a biodiesel, despite its substandard environmental record. European and US mandatory targets for the use of biofuels are a major driver behind the unsustainable expansion of oil palm plantations.

Friends of the Earth International strongly opposes the use of edible oils for energy purposes, and denounces agrofuels such as palm oil as a false solution to climate change.


Torry Kuswardono, Friends of the Earth International Agrofuels Campaign Coordinator and Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI); +62- 811383270 or torry@walhi.or.id


[1] The news and the letter are online at: http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0909-palm_oil_ifc.html

[2] See http://www.forestpeoples.org

[3] The July 2007 report ‘Policy, Practice, Pride and Prejudice: Review of Legal, Environmental and Social Practices of Oil Palm Plantation Companies of the Wilmar Group in Sambas District, West Kalimantan, Indonesia’, by FoE Netherlands/Milieudefensie, Lembaga Gemawan en Kontak Rakyat Borneo, is available at:

[4] See http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/uploads/case_documents/Combined%20Document%201_2_3_4_5_6_7.pdf

[5] See http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0909- palm_oil_ifc.html

[6] See http://www.foei.org/en/what-we-do/forest-and-climate-change/grassroots-highlights/2009/halting-misleading-palm-oil-ads

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