News / Africa

    World’s Largest Palm Oil Company Commits to No Deforestation

    Workers sort palm fruits at a palm oil processing plant in Lebak, Indonesia, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)Workers sort palm fruits at a palm oil processing plant in Lebak, Indonesia, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
    x
    Workers sort palm fruits at a palm oil processing plant in Lebak, Indonesia, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
    Workers sort palm fruits at a palm oil processing plant in Lebak, Indonesia, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Kim Lewis
    A new policy that looks to transform the palm oil industry was recently announced.  Asia’s leading palm oil producer, Wilmar International, said it has committed to producing only products that are free from links to deforestation and abuse of human rights.  Palm oil is a $50-billion a year commodity that is found in half of all consumer goods. It is in chocolate, baked goods, soaps, detergents, and many more household items.  The production of it has caused the clearing of tropical forests for plantations, threatening ecological systems as well as forest animals.

    In addition clearing land for plantations has threatened the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on forests for survival.

    Scott Poynton, is a forest conservationist and supply chain expert.  He founded the international nonprofit, The Forest Trusts, TFT, an organization that works with businesses to help them produce more responsibly.

    He said the announcement by Wilmar International is a massive one and a huge commitment that will take a lot of work to implement.

    “There’s never been such a strong commitment in the palm oil industry before, and not only in the palm oil industry, but in the agribusiness sector such as soy, or beef, or any of these sectors.  There’s never been an announcement equivalent to this.  So it’s really of global significance,” explained Poynton. 

    The forest conservationist highlighted that the commitment to “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation, No High Carbon Stock…” sets a benchmark for the entire industry, which includes palm plantations in Africa.

    “The Wilmar International is the largest palm oil company in the world, and controls about 45% of the global trade in palm oil.  Wilmar itself has interests in Africa, and one of the responses to the announcement has been some concern expressed by some civil society organizations, NGO’s, however, Wilmar's response is look we are going to roll out these policies across our global operation base which includes Africa,” said Poynton, who added this is good news for Africa because there is interest in expanding palm oil production on the continent.

    “Palm oil is an opportunity to bring in socio-economic development but we want to do that without trashing and destroying the environment, or people’s lives,” pointed out Poynton.  And he said the transformative policies to protect forests and people will help ensure that any new development that comes about will be done in the right way.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora