Stop Palm Oil Companies from Encroaching on Indigenous Land

palm oil

Target: Golden Veroleum

Goal: Preserve villagers’ rights to be fully informed and give consent before expansion of palm oil operations

The palm oil industry is expanding rapidly because of a recent increase in global demand. Palm oil plantations are expanding in Asian and African countries to meet demands for the oil. Forests and lands are destroyed to make room for the expansion of the monoculture crop and people are in danger of being displaced from their ancestral home. Most recently, a Liberian tribe is at risk of having their land encroached upon by palm oil companies.

Palm oil  is now the most popular vegetable oil because it is cheap, versatile, high yielding, and widely produced. It is used as a cooking ingredient in many countries, found in many processed foods, and used as biodiesel. Although palm oil is useful, research has proven that the palm oil industry exacerbates pollution issues.

In a study published in the African Journal of Agricultural Research, production of palm oil resulted in massive amounts of palm oil mill effluent. It stated, “for every 1 ton of crude palm oil produced, 5-7.5 tons of water ends up as palm oil mill effluent.” Effluent pollutes waterways. In addition to water pollution, palm oil production is attributed to deforestation, declines in fish populates due to water pollution, and drying water tables in surrounding areas.

An organization called the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was created in 2004 to decrease social and environmental damages related to palm oil production and expansion. Palm oil companies that are members of RSPO adhere to guidelines that stipulate operation expansion must be consented by local people. Golden Veroleum, an indirect subsidiary of Indonesia’s largest palm oil company, Sinar Mas, is a member of RSPO and is not meeting requirements.

The company is making plans to extend palm oil operations into Liberia where the Kru tribes reside. The tribe was not consulted by anyone at Golden Veroleum about the company’s plan to create a 33,000 hectare palm oil plantation. Encroaching on land to expand its palm oil operation without consent is not allowed by the RSPO. A representative of the Kru tribes will attend the 10th Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in Singapore to defend indigenous rights in these areas.

Golden Veroleum is not complying to their promise to operate sustainably under RSPO’s guidelines. Stop Golden Veroleum from moving forward with expansion in Liberia without the consent of the Kru tribes.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Golden Veroleum,

The recent decision to expand your operations in Liberia without consent from local villagers is distasteful. On the one hand, there is the issue of foregoing the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil’s guidelines to have consent from locals before expanding operations. On the other, contending to social equity at a time when global sustainability is most sought after is a bad business decision.

Please, stop expansion of your operations in Liberia until you have met the requirements of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil for the sake of the Kru tribe in Liberia, and for the sake of your company’s reputation in a sustainably-minded global market.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: fotopedia.com

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