Major companies like Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons, and Dunkin’ Donuts fry their doughnuts in palm oil, a commodity that is frequently grown by cutting down rainforests. That deforestation is destroying the habitat of endangered animals like Sumatran tigers and orangutans. Then, to make way for plantations, palm oil companies force indigenous people off their land, and use migrant slave and child labor to toil in the plantations. By adopting a “no questions asked” approach to palm oil sourcing, the world’s biggest doughnut companies are getting their raw materials from some of the least responsible companies in the world – like Cargill, IOI Loders Croklaan, and Bunge – who sell palm oil sourced from deforestation. Other food sectors have made enormous progress in making products in ways that don’t contribute to deforestation, but some of the leading doughnut companies are lagging far behind.
The good news is that the doughnut industry has many choices for sourcing responsible vegetable oil. Companies controlling more than half of global palm oil trade have adopted and are implementing “No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation” policies to ensure that any new plantations aren’t developed at the expense of forests or local communities. Wilmar International, Golden Agri-Resources, New Britain Palm Oil, Agropalma, and Daabon are leading the way in transforming the industry.
Among major palm oil suppliers and traders, Bunge is unique in being significantly dependent on just one supplier: Sarawak Oil Palms Berhad (SOP). SOP has cleared extensive areas of peatland forests in Borneo, one of the most carbon-dense ecosystems in the world. According to trade data, Bunge purchases 88% of SOP’s exports. And according to Bunge’s own filings with the industry trade group, this represents approximately 44% of Bunge’s total global palm oil supply.
Sarawak is the epicenter of peatland clearance in the world. The state cleared an incredible one third of its peatlands between 2005 and 2010 alone, and SOP was at the center of these activities. Peatland clearance for palm oil is the largest contributor to climate change in Southeast Asia. Malaysia alone has nine gigatons of carbon contained in its peatlands. If all this were to be released into the atmosphere, it would be equivalent to the total US greenhouse gas emissions from 2008-2012. IOI Loders Croklaan is the edible oil division of IOI Group, a Malaysian-based conglomerate that supplies palm oil to hundreds of companies.
IOI Loders Croklaan has been tied to illegal deforestation both through its affiliate Bumitama, and directly in joint ventures as recently as March 2014. In one such joint venture operated by a producer called Bumi Sawit Sejahtera (BSS), 93% of the land holdings consist of swamp forest – with 1,047 hectares of peatlands, nearly 711 hectares of which are protected under Indonesian law.17 Though IOI committed to limits on planting in these areas, satellite and on-the-ground photographic evidence from the last six months show ongoing clearing operations.
Source: Forest Heroes forestheroes.org