The World Bank has agreed to suspend all new investments in the palm oil industry by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - an independent body within the World Bank focused on the private sector - with immediate effect. In a letter to Both ENDS' partner Forest Peoples Programme, Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, writes that all existing investments will be re-examined, pending a number of guarantees that must limit damage to humans and the environment.
The planned initial public offering (IPO) of Malayan state-owned enterprise Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) will take place this month (28th June). It will be underwritten by Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley; with an expected valuation of around 2.5 billion Euro this will be the second biggest IPO ever, trailing Facebook. A significant detail is that FGVH is controlled by the governing part UMNO, led by Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. The upcoming privatisation might be prompted by a need to generate capital for the upcoming elections.
Alfred Lahai Brownell, director of our Liberian partner organization Green Advocates has won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last month. He is awarded for his efforts to protect Liberian rainforest from palm oil concessions. In the past, Both ENDS has worked with Alfred Brownell and his organization which filed a complaint against palm oil company GVL.
On June 5th, World Environment Day, community members at the southern coast of Guatemala protested against the rapid spread of large-scale palm oil, sugar cane and banana plantations in their region. Utz Che', our local partner organisation, joined the march.
For the past two months, large parts of the rainforests on Sumatra, Kalimantan and other Indonesian islands have caught fire. Each year, parts of these forests are burnt to the ground to make room for palm oil production. An illegal and completely unacceptable practice. This year, though, the fires have become even more violent than usual as the rainy season has not yet arrived. A gigantic amount of smoke has even reached and affected neighboring countries Malaysia and Singapore, and serious respiratory problems – as well as casualties - among the local population are some of the direct consequences of these forest fires. Paul Wolvekamp of Both ENDS has been closely involved in the problematic issues surrounding the production of palm oil.
Last week Both ENDS’ deputy director, Paul Wolvekamp, was elected board member of the RSPO, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Until November, when new elections will take place. “I hope that after the next elections my place will be taken by a social NGO from the South, because that group is not represented well enough in the RSPO.” Therefore Paul, within the RSPO, aims for a stronger voice of NGO’s, plantation workers and small-scale palm oil producers in the South.
Both ENDS introduced process to develop a land Dispute Settlement Facility under the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil during RSPO Round Table 6 in Bali.
According to European Union rules, 10% of agrofuel should be added to every litre of petrol or diesel in 2020. However, current agrofuels like palm oil, soy and rapeseed are no better for the environment.