Investigative Report: Enough is Enough

EoF Investigative Report / 08 June 2018

PEKANBARU, June 2018 -- EoF’s random chains-of-custody investigations continuing since 2011 found 22 crude palm oil (CPO) mills that purchase illegal palm fruit (FFB) harvested in central Sumatra’s two High Conservation Value areas, the Tesso Nilo and Bukit Tigapuluh landscapes.

EoF found Indonesia’s so-called ”Big 4” – GAR, Musim Mas, RGE and Wilmar – had purchased from these mills, often repeatedly, despite knowing that they had been implicated from earlier EoF reports.

The mills are also among the many direct or indirect suppliers of some of the world’s key traders and users with zero deforestation commitments, EoF’s investigation found: AAK, ADM, Bunge, Cargill, Colgate-Palmolive, Fuji Oil, General Mills, IOI, Kellogg’s, Louis Dreyfus, Mars, Mondelēz, Neste, Nestlé,  Olam, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Sime Darby and Unilever.

The report’s findings were shared with the companies before publication. The majority of the world’s palm oil supplies may thus be tainted by FFB illegally grown in some of the last remaining habitats of critically endangered species like tigers, elephants, and orangutan and on flammable, carbon rich peatlands in Sumatra.

At the root of this problem is the heavy reliance by the Big 4 and many other companies on external suppliers to fill the demands of their processing and trading facilities, with current refining capacities much larger than the FFB and CPO volumes that comply with government regulations and with the companies’ own zero deforestation policies.

Lack of traceability and the common practice among the Big 4 and others to buy and sell palm oil products to each other led to widespread contamination of the global supply chain. Only strict identification and segregation at the source of FFB from unknown third parties, often traded by agents, can reduce the contamination.