Neste Oil slammed over palm oil supplier
Huge investments in biodiesel production have made the company one of the largest single users of palm oil globally and just last month it opened the world's largest biodiesel refinery in Singapore.
Last week, Neste Oil's sustainability claims took a serious blow when the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil suspended all current and on going certifications of IOI, one of its key suppliers, due to land conflict issues in its operations in Sarawak, Malaysia and illegal deforestation in Ketapang, Indonesia.
Speaking at press briefing in Helsinki yesterday Lukas Straumann, director of Swiss NGO Bruno Manser Fonds,which specializes in defending rainforests and indigenous people in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, said:
"IOI is far away from being a responsible palm oil producer. The company neglects the problems that it is causing, it does not communicate openly and transparently, causes land conflicts and destroys forests with high conservation values. We find it very strange that European palm oil buyers accept a producer acting like this as their business partner."
In March 2011, in the village of Long Teran Kanan in Sarawak, Malaysia, inhabitants blocked roads to prevent IOI continuing to trespass and harvest palm oil on their lands. This was despite a court ruling over one year ago which declared that IOI 's license to operate was null and void.
"Recently announced plans by the state of Sarawak to open one million more hectares of land for new palm oil plantations are shocking. Expansion of palm oil plantations is taking place in lands that are important for the culture and livelihoods of indigenous people. And the driving force is growing demand for palm oil, for instance the massive biofuel plans in Europe," said Straumann.