June 25, 2018 / 10:52 AM / a year ago

Greenpeace accuses palm oil processor Wilmar of deforestation links

SINGAPORE, June 25 (Reuters) - Environmental campaigner Greenpeace accused Singapore’s Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil processor, of having links to palm oil-related deforestation despite its previous commitments to safeguard tropical forests.

Greenpeace accused Gama, a palm oil business set up by Wilmar’s co-founder Martua Sitorus, of causing deforestation in Indonesia.

The environmental group said analysis of trade data showed that Wilmar continued to trade palm oil from Gama, despite being aware that Gama was violating Wilmar’s No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation policy by clearing rainforest.

"Wilmar must immediately cut off all palm oil suppliers that can't prove they aren't destroying rainforests," said Kiki Taufik, global head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia's Indonesian forests campaign. (bit.ly/2lu2oAm)

Wilmar promised in 2013 to seek to end purchases of palm oil grown on deforested land. In 2015, it opened its supply chains to outside scrutiny in a move that was lauded by environmentalists.

Wilmar did not have an immediate response to a Reuters request for a comment on the Greenpeace report. Calls to the Gama offices in Jakarta went unanswered after business hours.

Concerns about the amount of forests and peat lands cleared for plantations - and the greenhouse gases that are then emitted into the atmosphere - have plagued the palm oil industry for years. Palm oil is used in products including margarine, soap and biodiesel.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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