The Palm Scribe

Is Greenpeace Outrageous?

Recently environmental activist organization Greenpeace has aggressively thrown accusations against private palm oil giant Wilmar and occupied its oil refinery, an action the palm oil company referred as an act of trespassing and vandalism.

“Greenpeace’s action at Wilmar’s palm oil refinery in Bitung is not only a criminal act of trespassing and vandalism but a safety risk to the activists as well as Wilmar staff,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

“No organization is above the law, and we urge Greenpeace to adopt a collaborative mindset and work with the palm oil industry to take genuine and positive action.”

smallholder palm oil
Smallholder harvest oil palm fruit branch

According to of Greenpeace Indonesia Global Forest Campaign Head Kiki Taufik, “The Final Countdown” report that accused large palm oil companies, including Wilmar, of not implementing good oil palm cultivation practices, was made to warn palm oil industry players who still violate sustainability production regulations.

“We launched this report because 2020 is getting near and the Consumer Good Forum has promised to take all supply chains that meet sustainability criteria, but there are still parties that do not implement it up to now,” Kiki said when contacted by The Palm Scribe via telephone.

Wilmar, according to him, still has not implemented environmentally friendly production standards to date. “Wilmar has been claiming to clean up its supply chain since 2013, but the conditions on the ground are chaotic!”

The accusation was repelled by Wilmar by issuing a release stating that the accusation made by Greenpeace was merely an attempt to divert public attention so that all Wilmar’s efforts to support eco-friendly palm oil production did not get the spotlight.

“We are disappointed with the accusations made by Greenpeace for not respecting all the efforts and processes undertaken by Wilmar in promoting eco-friendly development in the palm oil industry,” Wilmar wrote in a release.

Wilmar’s statement was responded sarcastically by Taufik, who again questioned the implementation of sustainability by this giant palm oil company. “Their writing in the release is an answer to the accusation of our ‘Rogue Trader’ report, not answering the current one,” he told The Palm Scribe.

On Tuesday, September 25, 2018, Greenpeace occupied the refinery belonging to PT Multi Nabati Sulawesi as one of Wilmar’s subsidiaries, supported by the Boomerang Band as part of their protest.

“This industry will only clean the supply chain if there are NGOs or public complaining!” Kiki said firmly.

Wilmar responded to the Greenpeace action, again by stating that the action of occupying the oil refinery was an act that had exceeded the limit.

“Greenpeace’s actions at the Bitung oil refinery is not only a criminal act of trespassing and vandalism but also risking the safety of the activists and Wilmar staffs,” Wilmar wrote through a release received by The Palm Scribe.

Forest Watch Indonesia Director Soelthon Gussetya, however, supports Greenpeace’s actions as a change movement needed to drive the sustainability of the palm oil industry.

“We see that this is a part of encouraging changes in the behavior of extractive industries as one of the important actors in the saving the environment framework. “A good commitment must be guarded by its implementation,” Gussetya told The Palm Scribe.

Gussetya added that the Government should reflect on the Wilmar and Greenpeace case of the actual situation of the palm oil industry in Indonesia.

“Industries with NDPE commitments are still not yet clean and clear, talk about those who have no NDPE commitment,” he said. NDPE is a commitment of “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation”.

Distribution of open and fair information from upstream to downstream is important in the palm oil industry to ensure the correct dissemination of information. Unfortunately, according to Gussetya, this has not been realized in the palm oil commodity.

“In the palm oil industry, it is very difficult to find information. This affects the trust of civil society organizations in the traceability of these commodities,” he concluded.

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