7 September 2015
Two weeks ago, senior Indonesian officials slammed a commitment by five giant palm oil companies to purge their supply chains of deforestation, saying it hurts farmers, usurps the government’s authority and might constitute a cartel dominated by foreign interests.
Last week, other Indonesians, including the head of a major smallholders union, took aim at those assertions. They portrayed the pact, known as the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), as an important milestone on the road toward sustainability for an industry whose rapid expansion has eaten away at the the country’s rainforests and peatlands, pumping huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and infringing on the territories of indigenous peoples and endangered species such as the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) and Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus).
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