Tag Archives: Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

Stop palm oil slavery … Ashley Schaeffer, Rainforest Action Network

The palm oil plantations that Cargill has purchased from—and distributed to America’s household food brands—are rife with human rights violations, including slavery.

Want to remove this shocking reality from your pantry? Start by letting Cargill know that slave labor is unacceptable.


In Java last year, I interviewed two men with identical stories of being lured away from their hometowns with the promise of well paid work by Cargill supplier Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK).

The two were exposed to toxic chemicals in the palm oil fields with no protection and kept under lock and key at night by armed security. Each finally escaped these horrendous slave labor conditions without ever being paid.

I need your help to convince Cargill to stop filling America’s food supply with palm oil that causes environmental and human rights violations like these.


You’ve already been a massive help in putting Cargill on the path to protecting Indonesia’s rainforests. Just last week, Cargill announced it will finally be offering North American customers palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Just two years ago Cargill claimed this was impossible. Your pressure made it happen. Thank you.

We’ve clearly got a few more steps to go to ensure Cargill’s on the right side of rainforests, and I’m asking you to take those steps by my side.


Are you with me?

For the forests,
Ashley Schaeffer
Rainforest Agribusiness Campaigner
Twitter: @probwithpalmoil

“We Do Not Wish to be Slaves on Our Own Lands”

Rainforest Action Network
My name is Adelbert Gangai. I am from the Maisin tribe and work with the nine tribes from the Collingwood Bay region of Papua New Guinea. Our culture is intrinsically entwined and our livelihoods are entirely dependent on the primary forest that surrounds us.
But recently there is a threat that the palm oil company KLK will destroy the subsistence life style we have maintained since time immemorial by attempting to illegally develop over 100,000 acres of our customary lands against our will. Fortunately, KLK has a weak spot—HSBC Bank is one of KLK’s principal bankers. Will you take a moment to tell HSBC to use its influence to pressure KLK to stop expanding on our lands?
Our chiefs issued a rare joint communiqué in 2010 voicing the consensus of the residents of Collingwood Bay—who total over 7,000 people from 326 clans in 22 villages scattered across our coastline—that we do not wish to have industrial palm oil plantations established on our land under any circumstances.
Will you stand with us and send a message today to HSBC—a key banker of KLK—asking it to use its influence to urge KLK to stop these misguided plans before this controversy escalates into a full blown conflict?
RAN sponsored a colleague from Collingwood Bay and myself this past month to bring our case to the annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Sumatra. Thanks in large part to the pressure generated by over 12,000 RAN supporters like you, who took action to demand that KLK meet with us and that the RSPO finally take steps to address the formal complaint we filed more than a half a year ago, progress was made on both fronts.
Thank you for making this an issue that KLK and the RSPO can no longer ignore. But no real commitments have yet been made and right now, large earth moving equipment and a KLK barge containing palm oil seeds still sits just off our coastline. The anxiety this has created has driven members of our community to establish a blockade between the ship and the access route to our land.
We would now like to ask our friends and partners in the international community to take up our call and increase the pressure on KLK by asking one of its key bankers, HSBC, to use its leverage with KLK to push for a total withdrawal from our territory. For good.
We have witnessed what has happened to other communities in Papua New Guinea and around the world whose lands have been over-run by industrial palm oil plantations. They have been marginalized and become slaves on their own land. We do not wish this for the people of Collingwood Bay.
Our communities have fought and won against multinational corporations trying to develop our lands before. With your help, we will prevail in preserving this special place once again.
Thank you so much for your support,
Adelbert Gangai

Thank you,

Adelbert Gangai             Collingwood Bay

Cargill needs to come clean … Ashley Schaeffer, Rainforest Action Network

With palm oil in half of all products for sale in US grocery stores, we have the right to know the true cost of its production.image

Cargill is the #1 importer of palm oil into the US, but the company refuses to be transparent about who it does business with. For instance: Is Cargill still sourcing from the notorious palm oil company Duta Palma even though this company is embroiled in severe social conflicts with communities near its destructive palm plantations?

Dozens of people are gathering outside Cargill’s offices today in Minneapolis to ask the company to come clean about its operations.

Will you help us amplify their voices by writing to Cargill now and demanding transparency around its “no-trade list”?

In the past, Cargill has said Duta Palma was on its “no-trade list,” but the company has never made this list public and RAN has reason to believe Cargill’s policy of sourcing from any company that pays membership dues to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil allows it to get palm oil from Duta Palma.

Please email Cargill CEO Greg Page now and ask him to come clean.

In 2009, Rainforest Action Network released a case study documenting illegal rainforest burning by Duta Palma on community lands used by the people of Semunying Jaya in Borneo. Duta Palma doesn’t have permits to operate these plantations and police refuse to do anything about this blatant land theft and environmental destruction.

So community members took action themselves.

A few weeks ago, members of the Semunying Jaya community seized several pieces of machinery, trucks, bulldozers and chainsaws, then barricaded the doors of Duta Palma’s palm nursery, shutting down operations. The community members are now facing possible criminal charges for standing up for the health and safety of their home.

We have the right to know: Is Cargill profiting from the oppression of the people of Semunying Jaya by buying palm oil from Duta Palma? Please demand transparency now.

For the forests,

Ashley Schaeffer

Rainforest Agribusiness Campaigner