Edible oils market leader linked to ongoing loss of orangutan habitat

(foresthints.news) - At the end of January this year, it was announced that the PT PSM palm oil concession had been sold by Genting Plantations (GenP) to Suryaborneo Mandiri (SBM). The clearing of high carbon stock (HCS) forests, which form the habitat of the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan, in this concession is currently ongoing.

Using numerous relevant sources, foresthints.news has been able to verify that the clearing of the rapidly vanishing Bornean orangutan’s habitat is linked to global palm oil supply chains.

The linkage is related to the share composition of the new owner of PT PSM, the major shareholders of which are two Indonesian companies, one of whose shares are held by a palm oil mill (PT BHD) which serves as a supplier to both Wilmar and ADM Global.

Furthermore, Olenex, a full-function joint venture between ADM and Wilmar, is also linked to the supply chains of PT BHD, whose company is clearing the Bornean orangutan’s habitat in the PT PSM concession.

Olenex, which profiles itself as “a market leader in refined vegetable oils and fats” as well as “a specialist in edible oils”, will find its irresponsible supply chains under further scrutiny if it continues to be linked to the ongoing disappearing of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat.

The Google Earth images (8/9/2015) below show parts of the HCS forests spread among the PT PSM concession, home to the Bornean orangutan and also a target for the development of new palm oil plantations.

Tainted supply chains maintained?

Based on the PT PSM palm oil development permit obtained by the company in May 2013 from the Forestry Ministry, the concession contains HCS forests equivalent in size to 7,706 soccer fields which are also one of the last remaining habitats of the Bornean orangutan.

Considering that no announcement has been forthcoming from PT PSM about ending its HCS forest clearing operations, this means that as of now Wilmar, along with its joint venture Olenex, still maintains supply chains associated with the deforestation of HCS forests and destruction of the Bornean orangutan’s dwindling habitat.

The Sentinel-2 images below, as previously reported (Sep 22), indicate that the clearing of HCS forests has begun. Without question, this includes major parts of the 7,706 hectares of HCS forests in the PT PSM concession. This clearing remains underway.

Given the linkage of Wilmar’s supply chains, and certainly its global supply chains, to the clearing of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat in its supplier’s concession, the 2016 sustainability report of the world’s largest palm oil trader is considered increasingly irrelevant as a credible reference.

“Will do its best” 

With regard to what is happening to the Bornean orangutan’s habitat in West Kalimantan’s Ketapang regency, the PONGO Alliance - in a statement emailed to foresthints.news (Sep 28) - declared that it will do its best for the sake of orangutan conservation, including for those living in palm oil concessions.

Undoubtedly, the alliance is fully aware that the clearing of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat in the PT PSM concession is ongoing.

Among other measures, the alliance has made a commitment to helping create dialogues between relevant stakeholders. The alliance is still just making written promises, but in one or two months' time, it will certainly have to come up with a number of concrete actions.

For Wilmar, on the other hand, it is imperative to move quickly in immediately disengaging its global supply chains from the clearing of the Bornean orangutan’s shrinking habitat.

Similarly, its joint venture partner ADM Global also must not act slowly in disentangling its supply chains from practices which are ravaging the habitat of the imperiled Bornean orangutan. 

In the event that Wilmar and ADM Global fail to do anything, global palm oil supply chains will continue to be linked to the destruction of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat.