Food giant repudiates rainforest violation claimsOctober 2010
Cargill, the US-based food group, has vehemently denied violating palm oil standards to which it has signed up.
A report by the international non-profit Rainforest Action Network (RAN) says Cargill is breaching ‘at least five’ rules established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and is misleading consumers and investors by continuing its membership of the organization.
Cargill is accused of operating outside Indonesian law, failing to disclose ownership of plantations, clearing rainforests without permits, failing to resolve land conflicts, destroying watersheds and inadequately overseeing its supply chain.
RAN says the company’s activities in Indonesia are leading to the burning of rainforests and are causing conflicts in local communities. It also accuses the business of operating ‘secret’ plantations.
But the company denies ownership of one of the two ‘secret’ farms that are listed, and says it has disclosed ownership of the other. It calls most of the RAN findings ‘false’, ‘categorically untrue’ or ‘impossible’.
Some palm oil businesses in the sector have begun to complain about what they see as wild allegations being made by various pressure groups. The right-wing World Growth NGO, whose backers are unclear, said last month that ‘a clear pattern of manipulation of facts’ had emerged to bolster the ‘anti-palm oil campaign’.
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