Greenpeace revealed that palm oil producers operating in Indonesia grouped in Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are the main driver of deforestation in the country. According to Greenpeace, palm oil production was the single biggest cause of deforestation in Indonesia between 2009 and 2011, accounting for about a quarter of all forest loss over that period. That means the destruction of critical habitat for endangered species such as the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger, as well as a major release of carbon into the atmosphere.
Based on its analysis, Greenpeace called on international consumer goods producers to take self-verifying efforts on the origin of palm oil they use in their products to assure that they are free from crude palm oil produced from activities linked to deforestation.
The report also showed that concession areas controlled by crude palm oil firms grouped in the RSPO accounted for 39 percent of fire hotspots on palm oil concessions in Indonesia''s Riau province from January to June this year.
"The RSPO wants its members to be industry leaders in sustainability, but its current standards leave them free to destroy forests and drain peatland. Year after year, Indonesia''s forest fires and haze wreak havoc on the region, and the palm oil sector is a main culprit. While RSPO members might have no-fire policies, the peatland they have cleared and drained is like a tinderbox one spark is all it takes," said Bustar Maitar of Greenpeace.
Greenpeace learned that almost all firms rely solely on the RSPO to meet any "sustainability" commitments that qualify their products not linked to forest destruction. It was resulted from Greenpeace''s interviews with over 250 firms worldwide using palm oil in their products.
With evidence that Greenpeace had already obtained, the environmentalist organization learned that the RSPO is, by far, not fit for such a purpose.
According to Rainforest Action Network, pall oil related to deforestation is linked to leading brands, including Conagra Foods, Dunkin’ Donuts, General Mills, PepsiCo, Hormel Foods, and Krispy Kreme, among others. While many of these companies have pledged to source only palm oil certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) — the leading eco-standard — by 2015, the report argues that the RSPO doesn''t do enough to protect forests or ensure "conflict-free" palm oil.