Second-largest Palm Oil Company Commits to Preserving Valuable Forest

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The world’s second-biggest palm oil company has agreed to preserve critical Indonesian rainforest and peatland as a result of pressure from major food processors and conservationists.

While Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) will still be able to exploit some areas of forest, company officials have vowed to spare areas classified as “high conservation value” or “high carbon stock.” GAR, the biggest palm oil producer in Indonesia, brokered the agreement with the Forest Trust, a Swiss-based conservation group. “We have shown that the destruction of forests is anchored deeply in the supply chains of the products we consume in industrialized nations, and we are showing we can do something about that,” said Scott Poynton, executive director of the Forest Trust.

Nestlé officials last year said they would refuse to buy palm oil that was not sustainably harvested. Palm oil, which is used in an increasing number of products, from cosmetics to food, has grown into a $20-billion industry worldwide.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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