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Wilmar International
30 июня, 04:51

Как по маслу: крупнейший в России производитель майонеза изобретает здоровые продукты и кормит Азию

Николай Нестеров возглавляет НМЖК с 1996 года. Сегодня это холдинг с оборотом $1,6 млрд, продукция которого идет и на экспорт. Как советский управленец реагирует на новые вызовы?

18 января, 13:30

История Delta Wilmar: как создать масложировой холдинг в Украине

Индус Дхруба Чаран Панда и сингапурец Васудеван Вайраван имеют большой опыт в международной торговле. Поэтому мировые лидеры масложировой и каучуковой промышленности доверили им развитие своих бизнесов в Украине и СНГ

03 ноября 2015, 20:33

Amid Massive Forest Fires, Goldman Sachs Gives Green Light to Burning

You'd think all the coughing in the office would have been a wake-up call. Every morning for the last several months, Goldman Sachs bankers in Singapore have woken up choking on the toxic haze that has swamped the skies of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. The bankers are not alone in their suffering of course -- everyone who lives in the region is dealing with a layer of haze that manages to creep even into air conditioned office towers and luxury hotels. The source of the haze is massive forest fires from across the Malacca Strait in Indonesia -- deliberately set to clear land for palm oil and paper plantations. While the Indonesian government bears a lot of responsibility for the crisis, the fuel for the fires has been billions of dollars in international bank financing to palm oil and paper companies to clear forests and ultra carbon-rich peatland, no questions asked. The region and the world are now inhaling the consequences of that financing binge. Yesterday, at the height of the fires, Goldman Sachs announced a new palm oil financing policy as part of its updated Environmental Policy Framework. I think Goldman Sachs really wanted to show that it cared about what was happening. Unfortunately, the substance of the policy signals that Goldman Sachs is willing to keep throwing money at the companies holding the match as Indonesia burns. The most glaring weakness of the policy is that instead of requiring companies to adhere to a strict no burning policy, it gives a green light to forest burning with only a meek commitment not to knowingly finance companies that "utilize illegal or uncontrolled fires." It actually still is legal to burn forest and peat under Indonesian law in certain circumstances, and "controlled" fires still destroy forest and put vast amounts of smoke into the atmosphere. Partly for that reason, palm oil companies representing more than 90 percent of global palm oil trade have put strict "No burning" policies into place. The haze crisis shows that not all of these companies' suppliers are adhering to the policies, in part because they believe that they will still be able to get financing from companies like Goldman Sachs that will tolerate the burning. Indeed, the Indonesian government has been considering a blanket prohibition on burning, but Goldman Sachs' announcement doesn't help. The idea behind these sustainable finance policies is that they're supposed to drive positive change in the industries that are hungry for bank loans or underwriting services. But in Goldman Sachs' case, its policies actually lag those of their customers... consumer companies like Kellogg, Johnson & Johnson, Mars and Hershey's that use palm oil as well as the major agricultural companies have all adopted forest conservation policies that are far stronger than Goldman Sachs. For instance, whereas the major companies in the industry have strict "No Deforestation" policies, Goldman Sachs just commits to "No Net Deforestation." Translated out of technical terms, that means that Goldman Sachs is willing to do business with a company that clears massive tracts of forests full of wildlife, so long as it plants little immature saplings elsewhere. Needless to say, applying this approach to tropical rainforests would drive many species to extinction, and send even more climate pollution into the atmosphere. Goldman Sachs also only applies its policy to palm oil, even though soy, cattle, rubber, sugar, and other crops are also all driving deforestation. Again, they're lagging agricultural giants like ADM, Bunge, and Wilmar International that are applying strong protections across all crops where they do business. Goldman Sachs policy isn't all bad -- it says it won't finance companies engaged in destruction of ultra-carbon rich peatlands, and also requires timber companies not to engage in illegal logging and to move towards sustainable logging practices. And it includes a strong in principle commitment to protect human rights, but lacks specifics such as whether it will protect indigenous communities' rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent for projects on their own lands. Goldman Sachs has some of the smartest people in the banking industry, and many individuals in the company sincerely care about fighting climate change. They would do well to look to the example of their rival bank BNP Paribas, which has adopted a policy that, while imperfect, is far stronger. And BNP Paribas and has actually implemented it - denying financing to companies engaged in deforestation. BNP's actions have spurred several major palm oil companies to change their practices. In this case, BNP Paribas is actually showing how a major bank can actually drive positive change through its financing practices. The fires are so extensive that Indonesia has on a daily basis sent more climate pollution into the air than produced by the entire U.S. economy. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, and millions of children have been kept home from school. Several infants in the hardest-hits parts of Indonesia have died from the pollution. More than seven thousand square miles of forest have been destroyed in the last five months, probably the greatest environmental disaster of the decade. It is time for Goldman Sachs to wake up to the new reality in the palm oil industry and in global agriculture more broadly: There are millions of acres of degraded land where development can happen without threatening forests or community rights... or poisoning the atmosphere. Furthermore, companies engaged in deforestation are simply a bad bet. Because of environmental campaigns and consumer demand for responsibly produced products, companies engaged in deforestation increasingly can't find markets. Goldman Sachs will be facing a lot of scrutiny for its actions in the lead-up to the Paris Climate Summit. They should use that opportunity to get their environmental policy up to the standard of excellence they usually expect. Even their coughing Singapore bankers will thank them. Thanks to Rainforest Foundation Norway and Deborah Lapidus for their help with this post. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Выбор редакции
01 октября 2015, 00:35

Big Order Sweeps Sugar Market

Wilmar International Ltd. has bought 1.2 million tons of raw sugar on the ICE Futures U.S. Exchange against the October contract, the third delivery taken by the Singapore-based commodity company in recent months, traders and brokers said.

26 августа 2015, 21:50

Andersons (ANDE) at 52-Week Low Following Weak Earnings

Shares of The Andersons, Inc. (ANDE) hit a 52-week low of $31.93 before settling a notch higher at $31.97 yesterday.

17 августа 2015, 20:35

Will Andersons be Able to Cope With Headwinds in 2015?

We issued an updated research report on The Andersons Inc. (ANDE) on Aug 14, 2015.

13 августа 2015, 17:40

Cosan Q2 Earnings Fall Y/Y, Revenues Offset by Higher Costs

Cosan Limited (CZZ) reported disappointing results for second-quarter 2015. Net earnings of R$6.5 million (US$2.1 million) declined 83.2% year over year.

28 июля 2015, 13:15

Singapore stocks lower at close of trade; Singapore Straits Time down 0.82%

Singapore stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Real Estate Holdings&Development and Industrials sectors led shares lower. At the close in Singapore, the Singapore Straits Time declined 0.82%. The best performers of the session on the Singapore Straits Time were Wilmar International Limited (SIN:WLIL), which rose 0.31% or 0.01 points to trade at 3.20 at the close. Meanwhile, Jardine Matheson Hldgs Ltd (SIN:JARD) fell 0.09% or 0.05 points to end at 55.00 and Singapore Press Hldgs Ltd (SIN:SPRM) was down 0.24% or 0.01 points to 4.20 in late trade. The worst performers of the session were Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (SIN:GAGR), which fell 5.56% or 0.020 points to trade at 0.340 at the close. Noble Group Limited (SIN:NOBG) declined 4.03% or 0.025 points to end at 0.595 and CapitaMall Trust (SIN:CMLT) was down 2.34% or 0.050 points to 2.090. Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Singapore Stock Exchange by 296 to 160 and 36 ended unchanged. Shares in Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (SIN:GAGR) fell to 5-year lows; down 5.56% or 0.020 to 0.340. Shares in Noble Group Limited (SIN:NOBG) fell to 5-year lows; losing 4.03% or 0.025 to 0.595. Crude oil for September delivery was down 0.75% or 0.35 to $47.03 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in September fell 1.35% or 0.72 to hit $52.75 a barrel, while the December Gold contract fell 0.36% or 3.90 to trade at $1093.00 a troy ounce. USD/SGD was down 0.13% to 1.3671, while EUR/SGD fell 0.63% to 1.5085. The US Dollar Index was up 0.36% at 96.98.

23 июля 2015, 20:20

Palm Oil Is In Everything -- And It's Destroying Southeast Asia's Forests

It was late evening. The skies were dark and dogs were howling. Into the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Center on the island of Borneo rushed a rescue worker cradling a tiny bundle in his arms. He handed over the precious package to the manager on duty. Inside, with a face as small as a mouse’s, was a 3-month-old orangutan. Those who were there that day say there are two things they remember most about their first meeting with the baby ape: her intelligent eyes, big and bright; and her fragile left arm -- half of which was conspicuously missing.  The baby’s hand had been hacked off. “Infant orangutans, who ride on their mothers’ stomachs by holding onto their long hair, have incredibly strong grips. They do not let go,” Richard Zimmerman, whose organization Orangutan Outreach helps facilitate the rescue and rehabilitation of wild orangutans, told The Huffington Post. “The baby’s hand was chopped off -- most likely to pry her off her mother.” Rescuers believe that the infant and her mom had been driven out of their forest home when it was destroyed to make way for a palm oil plantation. Starving, disoriented and too weak to climb, the mother ape was likely walking on the forest floor in search of food when she encountered the humans who would kill her and maim her child. Rescuers named the baby orangutan “Kesi,” Swahili for “child born in difficult times.” That name is apt for many a wild orangutan living today.    A hundred years ago, an estimated 230,000 orangutans roamed the earth. Today, fewer than 50,000 are left in the wild, living exclusively on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra -- islands that happen to be ground zero of one of the world’s most controversial and rapidly growing industries: palm oil.  Over the past 20 years, tens of thousands of wild orangutans have been killed, maimed or orphaned as a direct result of the palm oil industry.  Since 2006, the year Kesi was rescued, an estimated 1,500 orangutans have been clubbed to death after wandering onto palm oil plantations. Thousands more have died due to the widespread deforestation caused by the cultivation of palm oil. The habitat destruction and conversion of forest associated with palm oil is “currently the greatest threat” to the future of wild orangutans, whose survival is entirely dependent on the health of rainforests, said Robert Shumaker, the Indianapolis Zoo’s vice president of conservation and life sciences. “[Extinction] will be the sad reality if forest continues to be destroyed to promote the development of palm oil,” he said.  Experts estimate that orangutans could be extinct in the wild in 25 years or less if this rate of loss continues.    It's possible that you've never heard of palm oil, but you've almost certainly come into contact with it -- probably multiple times every single day.  Unavoidable in modern life, palm oil and its derivatives are found in thousands of products worldwide, from lipstick and toothpaste to donuts, candy bars and bio-diesel. An extremely versatile commodity that's cheaper and more efficient to produce than other vegetable oils, palm oil is currently used in half of all consumer goods. (The commodity has many alternative names on ingredient lists.) Consumption of palm oil has quintupled globally since 1990. The United States and Europe are its top consumers, but the desire for the commodity is growing everywhere. Demand is estimated to more than double by 2030 and triple by 2050.  Some of this increased demand will certainly come from the U.S., partially thanks to the Food and Drug Administration's ban on trans fat. Though by no means healthier, palm oil is set to be the “clear alternative” for food producers, experts say. After the FDA required labeling of trans fats in food products in 2006, palm oil imports into the U.S. increased by 60 percent, according to Time. “The labeling rule gives us a pretty clear indication that actually banning trans fats is going to further increase U.S. imports of palm oil,” Jeff Conant, who leads the international forests program at the Friends of the Earth environmental group, told the outlet.    The impact that this ubiquitous commodity -- now a $44-billion-a-year industry -- has already had on the planet is staggering. Activists say it is one of the most pressing environmental and humanitarian concerns of our time.  The equivalent of 300 football fields of rainforest is destroyed every hour to make way for palm oil plantations, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. This destruction has decimated the habitat of endangered creatures, deeply scarred local communities and is a critical -- though oft-overlooked -- factor in climate change. A lack of transparency in the industry means there are no reliable numbers to show the exact extent of deforestation caused specifically by palm oil. However, many environmentalists agree that palm oil, along with timber for paper and pulp, is one of the leading drivers of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. The two countries produce more than 85 percent of the world’s supply between them. Most oil palms are grown on the islands of Sumatra, in Indonesia, and Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The commodity is the number one cause of forest loss in Indonesia, accounting for 75 percent of deforestation in some areas of Borneo, according to a 2013 Greenpeace study. The forests of Indonesia and Malaysia are projected to vanish completely in 20 years if deforestation is not curtailed.    Borneo, which boasts one of the world’s oldest rainforests, and Sumatra -- the only place on earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans and elephants live together -- are two vital biodiversity hotspots in Southeast Asia, home to many unique and now-endangered creatures.  The conversion of forest on these islands for palm oil production has had an “outsized impact on threatened species,” including the critically-endangered Sumatran tiger, elephant and rhino, said conservationist and MongaBay.com founder Rhett Butler. A 2009 study called palm oil the “single most immediate threat to the greatest number of species.”    But it’s not just animals who are being threatened by this industry. Palm oil has also impinged on the livelihood, rights and dignity of indigenous communities. The Indonesian government has been handing over swathes of indigenous lands to private companies for palm oil cultivation since the 1960s, according to Tomasz Johnson, forest campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency. Corrupt government officials and unscrupulous plantation owners have also been known to illegally seize indigenous land.  “What this means is that self-sufficient communities are reduced to being labourers in their own land,” Johnson said in an email. “They go from being resilient and food-secure, with their own resources, to being totally reliant on low-paid wage labor in plantations... In areas where communities are more forest dependent, such as some areas of Borneo, it can have a devastating impact on their ability to survive.” Take the Dayak Benuaq tribe in the remote Bornean village of Muara Tae. For two decades, the community has been fighting to protect its ancestral lands from the bulldozers of several palm oil companies. But according to the EIA, the tribe has been oppressed by both the government and the companies involved in the land grab. A paramilitary unit of the Indonesian National Police has been called in to suppress resistance and the government has withheld village funds as a bullying tactic, Johnson said, adding that the tribe’s land is now “almost entirely occupied” by a coal mine and two palm oil plantations. This is land that the Dayak Benuaq people have relied on for centuries for sustenance, medicine, culture and identity. “This is the last remaining forests that we have and the only land we have to survive,” a community elder told the EIA in 2012. “If my forests are gone, our lives will end.”   The palm oil industry has also been associated with widespread human rights abuse, including forced and child labor, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. “[A]mong the estimated 3.7 million workers in the industry, are thousands of child laborers and workers who face dangerous and abusive conditions," Bloomberg News found in 2013. "Debt bondage is common, and traffickers who prey on victims face few, if any, sanctions from business or government officials."   The production of palm oil has also had a major impact on climate change.  Palm oil cultivation in Indonesia and Malaysia has been conducted disproportionately in high carbon areas like tropical forests and carbon-rich peatlands. Because of this, the deforestation of such areas to make way for plantations has released particularly large volumes of climate-warming gases into the atmosphere.   It’s estimated that tropical deforestation is responsible for between 15 and 20 percent of global warming emissions -- more than the emissions from cars and other forms of transportation. In areas covered in peat soils, the problem is even more severe. When peatlands are cleared and drained for palm oil cultivation, an enormous amount of carbon dioxide is released.  In Indonesia, the illegal but widespread slash-and-burn method of clearing forest for plantations spews huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributes to the dangerous smog problem in the region. It can also cause peatland fires, which have been known to burn for months -- and in some cases, years.  More than 60 percent of Indonesia’s carbon emissions come from the degradation of forest and peatlands. The country, which is being deforested faster than any other nation in the world, is the planet’s third-worst producer of greenhouse gases behind the U.S. and China.   Environmental groups have been sounding the alarm for years about the devastating impacts of palm oil, but these warnings have largely been drowned out by the clamoring for more and more of the oily stuff by oblivious consumers worldwide. The paradigm, however, has started to shift.  Thanks largely to the efforts of NGOs and grassroots activists, more consumers are now informed about the impacts of palm oil, and this knowledge has propelled concerned citizens to pressure companies to rethink their palm oil policies.  “Two years ago, palm oil wasn’t an issue that most people cared about, or was covered by the mainstream media,” said Gemma Tillack, the agri-business campaign director for the Rainforest Action Network. “But that has changed.” Several of the world’s biggest palm oil growers, traders and buyers have made so-called zero-deforestation commitments in recent years, promising to move towards more sustainable and ethical production.  In 2013, for instance, the Singapore-based Wilmar International, which controls almost half of the world’s trade in palm oil, vowed to have no deforestation in its supply chain within two years and committed to stop working with suppliers that burn peat and exploit local communities. Big-name palm oil buyers like Nestlé, General Mills, Kellogg's and the Hershey Company have made similar promises. Another big win came last month when 16 industry leaders, including PepsiCo, Colgate-Palmolive and Starbucks, penned an open letter to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to urge the organization to enforce stricter sustainability standards. The RSPO, which has more than a thousand members representing every sector of the industry, was established in 2004 to promote the production and use of sustainable palm oil, but has been widely criticized for inadequately monitoring its members and for not doing enough to curb deforestation.  The letter to the RSPO was “the best news I’ve seen in recent times,” Robert Hii, a Toronto-based sustainable business consultant, wrote on his blog in June. The signees “hold 5 trillion dollars worth of assets that can break or change an industry,” he wrote.  The conversation has moved to the government level as well. The European Union has started discussions about importing only certified sustainable palm oil by 2020, and leaders in Indonesia and Malaysia have started to respond to international pressure to crack down on deforestation. In 2011, Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared a moratorium on destroying primary forests and peatland -- a ban he reaffirmed this year.   Yet for all these promises and fervent show of industry support, real change has been slow to come. Talk, as everyone knows, is cheap. “[‘Zero-deforestation’] has become a popular slogan, a brush-off tool for corporations under attack by NGOs,” Hii told HuffPost. “It’s become an outlandish statement especially when made by corporations that are still trying to trace their supply of palm oil.” Traceability -- knowing exactly where a batch of palm oil comes from -- remains one of the greatest challenges facing the industry. An estimated two-fifths of the world’s palm oil is grown by smallholders, small-time farmers whose land is often tucked away in remote areas where regulatory oversight is poor. Add to that the mammoth issues of corruption and crime, both rife in the industry, and the reliable tracing of the supply chain becomes almost laughably difficult. The vast majority of palm oil growers in Indonesia are not mitigating the social and environmental impacts of their plantations, found a 2014 report by the EIA called “Permitting Crime.” In the palm oil concessions, or cultivation areas, studied for the report, the estimated rate of illegality was a staggering 80 percent. The report also documented the alarming number of smaller, opaque companies that are growing palm oil by illegally destroying huge tracts of forests. “Generally speaking, the level of legal compliance within the sector is critically low, and law enforcement is very weak due to entrenched corruption,” the EIA’s Tomasz Johnson said. “For consumers, this means it’s very likely is that the palm oil they consume on a daily basis has been produced illegally. It almost certainly hasn’t been produced sustainably, in any meaningful sense of the word.” Despite President Widodo's forest moratorium, primary forests in Indonesia also continue to be cleared at a dismaying rate. The Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra is one such example.“This massive and biodiverse rainforest is being carved up as we speak for new palm oil concessions,” Rainforest Action Network's Gemma Tillack said last week.   Ultimately, activists say that successfully tackling these complex and interconnected issues will require a concerted multi-pronged approach.  “The size and scale of the problem are really dramatic,” said Tillack. “There’s still not a lot of understanding about where palm oil is sourced from and how it’s being produced. It will take the full transformation of the supply chain to find a real breakthrough.” Local and national governments and companies at every stage of the supply chain need to work together, Tillack said, to foster an environment of transparency and a dedication to not just forest preservation, but sustainability on a much broader scale. Consumers, too, have an indispensable role to play. “Consumer action is crucial,” Tillack said. “It's currently driving this change in the palm oil [industry]. We need to continue to put pressure -- it’s critical. Consumers need to call on companies to adopt responsible policies, continue to tell them that people care.”   With the demand for palm oil set to skyrocket, and the frontier for the commodity already pushing into other sensitive areas of Southeast Asia, Central America and West Africa, the time to act is now.  “We have a real opportunity to turn the tide,” Tillack said.      Truly sustainable and ethical palm oil for the whole planet may now seem like an almost impossible dream. But the survival of animals like Kesi the orangutan should give us hope that while much damage has been done, redemption is still possible, said Richard Zimmerman of Orangutan Outreach. Today, almost a decade after her rescue, Kesi is thriving.  “She's a strong, dominant female who does not let a missing hand stop her from doing anything,” Zimmerman said. “We like to think that she doesn't 'just have one hand.' Rather, she has three instead of four.”  “Orangutans have a will to live that often seems extraordinary,” he added. “They survive under incredibly difficult circumstances.”  The future of Kesi's species is in our hands.  “Some populations of orangutans will not survive -- at least not where they are now... [but] we're confident that we'll be able to prevent extinction,” he said. “This all takes an enormous amount of time, money, resources, energy and coordination -- as well as cooperation within our networks, with the authorities, with the local people and with the companies who are deforesting the land. With so many moving parts it can be quite complicated. But we just keep doing everything we can to save them. “We have no choice,” he concluded.“If we don't do it, who will?” Organizations like Orangutan Outreach and Orangutan Foundation International support programs that rescue and rehabilitate apes like Kesi. You can also adopt orangutans from these organizations. Visit their websites to learn more. Also on HuffPost: -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

23 июля 2015, 20:20

Palm Oil Is In Everything -- And It's Destroying Southeast Asia's Forests

It was late evening. The skies were dark and dogs were howling. Into the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Center on the island of Borneo rushed a rescue worker cradling a tiny bundle in his arms. He handed over the precious package to the manager on duty. Inside, with a face as small as a mouse’s, was a 3-month-old orangutan. Those who were there that day say there are two things they remember most about their first meeting with the baby ape: her intelligent eyes, big and bright; and her fragile left arm -- half of which was conspicuously missing.  The baby’s hand had been hacked off. “Infant orangutans, who ride on their mothers’ stomachs by holding onto their long hair, have incredibly strong grips. They do not let go,” Richard Zimmerman, whose organization Orangutan Outreach helps facilitate the rescue and rehabilitation of wild orangutans, told The Huffington Post. “The baby’s hand was chopped off -- most likely to pry her off her mother.” Rescuers believe that the infant and her mom had been driven out of their forest home when it was destroyed to make way for a palm oil plantation. Starving, disoriented and too weak to climb, the mother ape was likely walking on the forest floor in search of food when she encountered the humans who would kill her and maim her child. Rescuers named the baby orangutan “Kesi,” Swahili for “child born in difficult times.” That name is apt for many a wild orangutan living today.    A hundred years ago, an estimated 230,000 orangutans roamed the earth. Today, fewer than 50,000 are left in the wild, living exclusively on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra -- islands that happen to be ground zero of one of the world’s most controversial and rapidly growing industries: palm oil.  Over the past 20 years, tens of thousands of wild orangutans have been killed, maimed or orphaned as a direct result of the palm oil industry.  Since 2006, the year Kesi was rescued, an estimated 1,500 orangutans have been clubbed to death after wandering onto palm oil plantations. Thousands more have died due to the widespread deforestation caused by the cultivation of palm oil. The habitat destruction and conversion of forest associated with palm oil is “currently the greatest threat” to the future of wild orangutans, whose survival is entirely dependent on the health of rainforests, said Robert Shumaker, the Indianapolis Zoo’s vice president of conservation and life sciences. “[Extinction] will be the sad reality if forest continues to be destroyed to promote the development of palm oil,” he said.  Experts estimate that orangutans could be extinct in the wild in 25 years or less if this rate of loss continues.    It's possible that you've never heard of palm oil, but you've almost certainly come into contact with it -- probably multiple times every single day.  Unavoidable in modern life, palm oil and its derivatives are found in thousands of products worldwide, from lipstick and toothpaste to donuts, candy bars and bio-diesel. An extremely versatile commodity that's cheaper and more efficient to produce than other vegetable oils, palm oil is currently used in half of all consumer goods. (The commodity has many alternative names on ingredient lists.) Consumption of palm oil has quintupled globally since 1990. The United States and Europe are its top consumers, but the desire for the commodity is growing everywhere. Demand is estimated to more than double by 2030 and triple by 2050.  Some of this increased demand will certainly come from the U.S., partially thanks to the Food and Drug Administration's ban on trans fat. Though by no means healthier, palm oil is set to be the “clear alternative” for food producers, experts say. After the FDA required labeling of trans fats in food products in 2006, palm oil imports into the U.S. increased by 60 percent, according to Time. “The labeling rule gives us a pretty clear indication that actually banning trans fats is going to further increase U.S. imports of palm oil,” Jeff Conant, who leads the international forests program at the Friends of the Earth environmental group, told the outlet.    The impact that this ubiquitous commodity -- now a $44-billion-a-year industry -- has already had on the planet is staggering. Activists say it is one of the most pressing environmental and humanitarian concerns of our time.  The equivalent of 300 football fields of rainforest is destroyed every hour to make way for palm oil plantations, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. This destruction has decimated the habitat of endangered creatures, deeply scarred local communities and is a critical -- though oft-overlooked -- factor in climate change. A lack of transparency in the industry means there are no reliable numbers to show the exact extent of deforestation caused specifically by palm oil. However, many environmentalists agree that palm oil, along with timber for paper and pulp, is one of the leading drivers of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. The two countries produce more than 85 percent of the world’s supply between them. Most oil palms are grown on the islands of Sumatra, in Indonesia, and Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The commodity is the number one cause of forest loss in Indonesia, accounting for 75 percent of deforestation in some areas of Borneo, according to a 2013 Greenpeace study. The forests of Indonesia and Malaysia are projected to vanish completely in 20 years if deforestation is not curtailed.    Borneo, which boasts one of the world’s oldest rainforests, and Sumatra -- the only place on earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans and elephants live together -- are two vital biodiversity hotspots in Southeast Asia, home to many unique and now-endangered creatures.  The conversion of forest on these islands for palm oil production has had an “outsized impact on threatened species,” including the critically-endangered Sumatran tiger, elephant and rhino, said conservationist and MongaBay.com founder Rhett Butler. A 2009 study called palm oil the “single most immediate threat to the greatest number of species.”    But it’s not just animals who are being threatened by this industry. Palm oil has also impinged on the livelihood, rights and dignity of indigenous communities. The Indonesian government has been handing over swathes of indigenous lands to private companies for palm oil cultivation since the 1960s, according to Tomasz Johnson, forest campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency. Corrupt government officials and unscrupulous plantation owners have also been known to illegally seize indigenous land.  “What this means is that self-sufficient communities are reduced to being labourers in their own land,” Johnson said in an email. “They go from being resilient and food-secure, with their own resources, to being totally reliant on low-paid wage labor in plantations... In areas where communities are more forest dependent, such as some areas of Borneo, it can have a devastating impact on their ability to survive.” Take the Dayak Benuaq tribe in the remote Bornean village of Muara Tae. For two decades, the community has been fighting to protect its ancestral lands from the bulldozers of several palm oil companies. But according to the EIA, the tribe has been oppressed by both the government and the companies involved in the land grab. A paramilitary unit of the Indonesian National Police has been called in to suppress resistance and the government has withheld village funds as a bullying tactic, Johnson said, adding that the tribe’s land is now “almost entirely occupied” by a coal mine and two palm oil plantations. This is land that the Dayak Benuaq people have relied on for centuries for sustenance, medicine, culture and identity. “This is the last remaining forests that we have and the only land we have to survive,” a community elder told the EIA in 2012. “If my forests are gone, our lives will end.”   The palm oil industry has also been associated with widespread human rights abuse, including forced and child labor, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. “[A]mong the estimated 3.7 million workers in the industry, are thousands of child laborers and workers who face dangerous and abusive conditions," Bloomberg News found in 2013. "Debt bondage is common, and traffickers who prey on victims face few, if any, sanctions from business or government officials."   The production of palm oil has also had a major impact on climate change.  Palm oil cultivation in Indonesia and Malaysia has been conducted disproportionately in high carbon areas like tropical forests and carbon-rich peatlands. Because of this, the deforestation of such areas to make way for plantations has released particularly large volumes of climate-warming gases into the atmosphere.   It’s estimated that tropical deforestation is responsible for between 15 and 20 percent of global warming emissions -- more than the emissions from cars and other forms of transportation. In areas covered in peat soils, the problem is even more severe. When peatlands are cleared and drained for palm oil cultivation, an enormous amount of carbon dioxide is released.  In Indonesia, the illegal but widespread slash-and-burn method of clearing forest for plantations spews huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributes to the dangerous smog problem in the region. It can also cause peatland fires, which have been known to burn for months -- and in some cases, years.  More than 60 percent of Indonesia’s carbon emissions come from the degradation of forest and peatlands. The country, which is being deforested faster than any other nation in the world, is the planet’s third-worst producer of greenhouse gases behind the U.S. and China.   Environmental groups have been sounding the alarm for years about the devastating impacts of palm oil, but these warnings have largely been drowned out by the clamoring for more and more of the oily stuff by oblivious consumers worldwide. The paradigm, however, has started to shift.  Thanks largely to the efforts of NGOs and grassroots activists, more consumers are now informed about the impacts of palm oil, and this knowledge has propelled concerned citizens to pressure companies to rethink their palm oil policies.  “Two years ago, palm oil wasn’t an issue that most people cared about, or was covered by the mainstream media,” said Gemma Tillack, the agri-business campaign director for the Rainforest Action Network. “But that has changed.” Several of the world’s biggest palm oil growers, traders and buyers have made so-called zero-deforestation commitments in recent years, promising to move towards more sustainable and ethical production.  In 2013, for instance, the Singapore-based Wilmar International, which controls almost half of the world’s trade in palm oil, vowed to have no deforestation in its supply chain within two years and committed to stop working with suppliers that burn peat and exploit local communities. Big-name palm oil buyers like Nestlé, General Mills, Kellogg's and the Hershey Company have made similar promises. Another big win came last month when 16 industry leaders, including PepsiCo, Colgate-Palmolive and Starbucks, penned an open letter to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to urge the organization to enforce stricter sustainability standards. The RSPO, which has more than a thousand members representing every sector of the industry, was established in 2004 to promote the production and use of sustainable palm oil, but has been widely criticized for inadequately monitoring its members and for not doing enough to curb deforestation.  The letter to the RSPO was “the best news I’ve seen in recent times,” Robert Hii, a Toronto-based sustainable business consultant, wrote on his blog in June. The signees “hold 5 trillion dollars worth of assets that can break or change an industry,” he wrote.  The conversation has moved to the government level as well. The European Union has started discussions about importing only certified sustainable palm oil by 2020, and leaders in Indonesia and Malaysia have started to respond to international pressure to crack down on deforestation. In 2011, Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared a moratorium on destroying primary forests and peatland -- a ban he reaffirmed this year.   Yet for all these promises and fervent show of industry support, real change has been slow to come. Talk, as everyone knows, is cheap. “[‘Zero-deforestation’] has become a popular slogan, a brush-off tool for corporations under attack by NGOs,” Hii told HuffPost. “It’s become an outlandish statement especially when made by corporations that are still trying to trace their supply of palm oil.” Traceability -- knowing exactly where a batch of palm oil comes from -- remains one of the greatest challenges facing the industry. An estimated two-fifths of the world’s palm oil is grown by smallholders, small-time farmers whose land is often tucked away in remote areas where regulatory oversight is poor. Add to that the mammoth issues of corruption and crime, both rife in the industry, and the reliable tracing of the supply chain becomes almost laughably difficult. The vast majority of palm oil growers in Indonesia are not mitigating the social and environmental impacts of their plantations, found a 2014 report by the EIA called “Permitting Crime.” In the palm oil concessions, or cultivation areas, studied for the report, the estimated rate of illegality was a staggering 80 percent. The report also documented the alarming number of smaller, opaque companies that are growing palm oil by illegally destroying huge tracts of forests. “Generally speaking, the level of legal compliance within the sector is critically low, and law enforcement is very weak due to entrenched corruption,” the EIA’s Tomasz Johnson said. “For consumers, this means it’s very likely is that the palm oil they consume on a daily basis has been produced illegally. It almost certainly hasn’t been produced sustainably, in any meaningful sense of the word.” Despite President Widodo's forest moratorium, primary forests in Indonesia also continue to be cleared at a dismaying rate. The Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra is one such example.“This massive and biodiverse rainforest is being carved up as we speak for new palm oil concessions,” Rainforest Action Network's Gemma Tillack said last week.   Ultimately, activists say that successfully tackling these complex and interconnected issues will require a concerted multi-pronged approach.  “The size and scale of the problem are really dramatic,” said Tillack. “There’s still not a lot of understanding about where palm oil is sourced from and how it’s being produced. It will take the full transformation of the supply chain to find a real breakthrough.” Local and national governments and companies at every stage of the supply chain need to work together, Tillack said, to foster an environment of transparency and a dedication to not just forest preservation, but sustainability on a much broader scale. Consumers, too, have an indispensable role to play. “Consumer action is crucial,” Tillack said. “It's currently driving this change in the palm oil [industry]. We need to continue to put pressure -- it’s critical. Consumers need to call on companies to adopt responsible policies, continue to tell them that people care.”   With the demand for palm oil set to skyrocket, and the frontier for the commodity already pushing into other sensitive areas of Southeast Asia, Central America and West Africa, the time to act is now.  “We have a real opportunity to turn the tide,” Tillack said.      Truly sustainable and ethical palm oil for the whole planet may now seem like an almost impossible dream. But the survival of animals like Kesi the orangutan should give us hope that while much damage has been done, redemption is still possible, said Richard Zimmerman of Orangutan Outreach. Today, almost a decade after her rescue, Kesi is thriving.  “She's a strong, dominant female who does not let a missing hand stop her from doing anything,” Zimmerman said. “We like to think that she doesn't 'just have one hand.' Rather, she has three instead of four.”  “Orangutans have a will to live that often seems extraordinary,” he added. “They survive under incredibly difficult circumstances.”  The future of Kesi's species is in our hands.  “Some populations of orangutans will not survive -- at least not where they are now... [but] we're confident that we'll be able to prevent extinction,” he said. “This all takes an enormous amount of time, money, resources, energy and coordination -- as well as cooperation within our networks, with the authorities, with the local people and with the companies who are deforesting the land. With so many moving parts it can be quite complicated. But we just keep doing everything we can to save them. “We have no choice,” he concluded.“If we don't do it, who will?” Organizations like Orangutan Outreach and Orangutan Foundation International support programs that rescue and rehabilitate apes like Kesi. You can also adopt orangutans from these organizations. Visit their websites to learn more. Also on HuffPost: -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

19 января 2015, 17:33

Calavo Growers (CVGW) Crumbles: Stock Falls by 6.7% - Tale of the Tape

The recent price fall is discouraging, so make sure to keep a close watch on Calavo Growers (CVGW) in the near future, and especially on earnings estimates following the recent slump

17 января 2015, 03:06

Monsanto (MON) Secures New GMO Seeds Approval from USDA - Analyst Blog

Premium agro-chemical producing firm, Monsanto Company (MON), recently secured the approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the usage of a new kind of herbicide-resistant soybean and cotton seeds.

02 декабря 2014, 17:03

Memo to McDonald's: The Climate Deserves a Break Today

  In the fall of 1960, my parents took my little brother and me to the first McDonald's in the Cleveland area. It looked like a spaceship, with bright yellow arches on either side of a gleaming white building adorned with red, horizontal stripes. In front was the chain's signature sign topped by Speedee the Chef -- Ronald McDonald's predecessor -- holding a neon placard emblazoned with "15¢," the price of a hamburger. Needless to say, my brother and I were very excited. Sure, we'd been to Royal Castle and Manners Big Boy, but McDonald's seemed a lot cooler. After sampling one of those flash-frozen, 15-cent burgers, however, I wasn't lovin' it. On the way out of the parking lot, I distinctly remember saying to my parents, "That place is never going to make it." Boy, was I wrong. A half century and untold billions of burgers later, McDonald's is the world's most profitable fast-food chain. In 2012, its 12,600 U.S.-based restaurants alone boasted $35.6 billion in sales -- nearly three times more than its nearest competitor, Subway, which has twice the number of U.S. outlets. Meanwhile, McDonald's 18,700 restaurants in more than 100 other countries grossed nearly $45 billion. The chain now serves more than 70 million people every day. It's no secret that McDonald's global reach has had a huge impact on diet, prompting more than 3,000 health professionals and institutions worldwide to sign on to a letter urging the company to stop marketing junk food to children. Less known, however, is Mickey D's supersized impact on the environment, especially when it comes to global warming. Besides the fact that the chain sells a lot of beef, which is by far the worst meat for the climate, it's one of the top 10 largest users of palm oil, the world's most popular vegetable oil -- and a major source of carbon emissions. Palm Oil Plantations Are Destroying Tropical Forests Americans are likely more familiar with canola, olive and other vegetable oils, but palm oil -- which comes from the flesh of the oil palm tree's fruit -- is ubiquitous. Along with palm kernel oil -- which comes from the fruit's seeds -- it turns up in baked goods, packaged foods, personal care products and cleansing agents. In addition, it's a common cooking oil in developing countries, and used to make biodiesel fuel worldwide. In and of itself, palm oil is not a bad choice. It's cheap, largely because growers can produce five to 10 times more vegetable oil per acre than from any other commercial oil seed. It is also one of the few naturally saturated vegetable oils, which makes it solid at room temperature and affords it a long shelf life. And it contains no trans fats, which have been linked to heart disease. That's the good news. The bad news is oil palm trees only grow in the wet tropics and, all too often, producers destroy tropical forests to plant them. Most of these plantations -- about 85 percent -- are in Indonesia and Malaysia. Clearing tropical forests, which contain enormous amounts of carbon, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Some Southeast Asian palm oil plantations also devastate critical habitat for elephants, orangutans, rhinoceros and tigers. Still others grab land from local communities or exploit child labor. And if that weren't bad enough, some palm oil plantations wipe out peatlands, which are wetlands topped with a thick water-logged layer of dead and decaying plant material. Peat soils store 18 to 28 times more carbon than tropical forests, and they can be as much as 60 feet deep. Dry peat is extremely flammable, and one of the ways producers clear land is by burning it, which sends tons of carbon dioxide and toxic pollutants into the atmosphere.  Palm oil plantations deforested some 6,100 square miles in Indonesian Borneo between 2000 and 2010, according to a 2012 study in Nature Climate Change. International Efforts Are Beginning to Pay Off In 2004, palm growers, processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, investors, and environmental and social justice organizations established the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to develop voluntary standards to protect tropical forests. The organization now has more than 1,600 members, which represent 40 percent of the palm oil industry. RSPO standards address a number of key issues, such as pesticide use and labor conditions, but don't go far enough to protect the climate. RSPO certification, for example, still allows producers to clear forests and peatland to create or expand plantations. Only pristine, or "primary," forests are off-limits. The standards also don't restrict carbon emissions from plantation development. They only offer guidelines for reporting emissions from forest conversion. Equally problematic, RSPO standards allow companies to buy inexpensive credits, called "GreenPalm" certificates, in lieu of buying RSPO-certified oil. The proceeds from the sale of those credits go to RSPO-certified palm oil producers, but the revenue generated doesn't remotely cover the true cost of ensuring that the palm oil is produced responsibly. In other words, GreenPalm certificates -- which may have made sense 10 years ago -- allow companies to claim they're doing something when they're still buying palm oil that may very well come from plantations that destroyed forests. Over the last decade, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, the Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund and others have been shining a light on unethical palm oil production and pressuring producers and consumers -- which include some of the world's largest food and cosmetic companies -- to commit to ending forest destruction and social abuses. In November 2012, scientists from leading academic and research institutions worldwide weighed in, issuing a statement calling on the RSPO to strengthen its standards. Ultimately signed by more than 200 scientists, the statement urged the organization to completely ban palm oil development on peatland and "high carbon stock forests," including "secondary forests," which are forests that have recovered after being logged. A year later, four RSPO producers -- Agropalma in Brazil, Daabon in Colombia, New Britain Palm Oil in Papua New Guinea, and Golden Agri-Resources, Indonesia's largest palm oil producer -- joined with a handful of environmental and social justice groups to launch the Palm Oil Innovation Group to promote "ambitious standards that stretch" RSPO guidelines. "We are building a strong case that palm oil does not need to be linked to forest destruction and exploitation," POIG said in a November 13, 2013, statement. "From producers and traders, through to palm oil consumers, we are creating an approach that can be replicated across the industry, and which will increase demand for responsible palm oil." These efforts, coupled with pressure from millions of people around the world, have spurred a dramatic turnaround. Last December, the world's largest palm oil trader, the Singapore-based Wilmar International, pledged to stop selling palm oil linked to deforestation or peatland development. Following Wilmar's announcement, vegetable oil giants Bunge and Cargill fell in line. Add Golden Agri-Resources, and they represent more than half of the global palm oil trade. Public pressure also has prompted L'Oréal, Nestlé, Unilever and other major corporate palm oil consumers to commit to completely eliminating deforestation from their supply chains. And in September of this year, 34 corporations joined national governments, indigenous peoples and nonprofit advocacy organizations to sign the nonbinding New York Declaration on Forests at the U.N. Climate Summit, vowing to cut deforestation in half by 2020 and ending it in 2030. McDonald's Do-Nothing Palm Oil Policy This rush to embrace climate-friendly principles was hastened by a March 2014 Union of Concerned Scientists report analyzing top U.S. brands' palm oil policies. UCS rated the 30 largest companies in the packaged-food, personal-care and fast-food sectors on their commitments to use deforestation-free, peat-destruction-free palm oil that is traceably and transparently sourced. Packaged-food companies had the strongest commitments. Fast-food companies, on the other hand, had the weakest. And that brings us back to McDonald's. McDonald's, an RSPO member and a signatory to the New York Declaration on Forests, received the second highest score among the 10 fast-food chains in UCS's survey, just behind Subway. But that's not saying much. McDonald's earned only 21 points out of a possible 100, a failing grade no matter how you slice it. The other eight, including Burger King, Wendy's and Yum! Brands -- parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell -- all rated a zero. According to the most recent report McDonald's filed with the RSPO, the company used 103,336 metric tons of palm oil in 2012. Less than 13 percent of that oil --13,000 metric tons -- was RSPO-certified, and the company claimed nearly a quarter of that oil -- 3,000 metric tons -- by purchasing GreenPalm certificates. McDonald's goal, as the company explains on its U.S. website, is for 100 percent of its palm oil to be "verified as supporting sustainable production by 2020." How does it plan to do that? By buying more RSPO-certified palm oil, which is not guaranteed to be deforestation-free, or purchasing more GreenPalm certificates, which at most provide a fig leaf for continuing to buy palm oil associated with deforestation. Contrast McDonald's do-nothing policy with that of Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. The company was one of the eight fast-food chains that scored zero in UCS's review of U.S. corporate palm oil commitments, but since then it has taken a 180-degree turn. In September, Dunkin' Brands announced it would buy only 100 percent deforestation-free palm oil by 2016, which goes way beyond McDonald's support for inadequate, outdated RSPO standards. Among other things, Dunkin' said it would ensure that its suppliers protect forests and peatland as well as cut carbon emissions from existing plantations. "Sourcing even limited amounts of palm oil irresponsibly can contribute to deforestation, loss of natural habitats, and other environmental and human rights concerns," said Christine Riley Miller, Dunkin' Brands' senior director for corporate social responsibility, in a September 16 press release. "Therefore, Dunkin' Brands has created clear guidelines for our suppliers, and to ensure independent verification that our principles are being met, so that by 2016 we can meet our targets of sourcing only responsibly produced palm oil." Besides Dunkin' Brands, eight other companies -- ConAgra, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, General Mills, Kao, Kellogg's, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble -- either initiated or strengthened their palm oil policies after UCS called them out in its scorecard. Those conversions, however, wouldn't have happened without a great deal of nudging. Take Dunkin' Brands' change of heart, for example. UCS and other groups, including Forest Heroes and SumOfUs, inspired tens of thousands of people to contact the company, and Forest Heroes even staged a demonstration outside of its annual shareholder meeting in May. Dunkin' Brands took note, and just a day after its mid-September announcement, one of its main competitors, Krispy Kreme, announced it also would upgrade its palm oil policy. If those corporate Goliaths can make the switch, surely public pressure can persuade McDonald's -- as well as Burger King and Yum! Brands -- to do the right thing, too. Want to help? You can join UCS's campaign by sending a message to McDonald's and other fast-food laggards by clicking here. Tell McDonald's the climate deserves a break today. Elliott Negin is a senior writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which is an RSPO member and a signatory to the New York Declaration on Forests.

02 декабря 2014, 17:03

Memo to McDonald's: The Climate Deserves a Break Today

  In the fall of 1960, my parents took my little brother and me to the first McDonald's in the Cleveland area. It looked like a spaceship, with bright yellow arches on either side of a gleaming white building adorned with red, horizontal stripes. In front was the chain's signature sign topped by Speedee the Chef -- Ronald McDonald's predecessor -- holding a neon placard emblazoned with "15¢," the price of a hamburger. Needless to say, my brother and I were very excited. Sure, we'd been to Royal Castle and Manners Big Boy, but McDonald's seemed a lot cooler. After sampling one of those flash-frozen, 15-cent burgers, however, I wasn't lovin' it. On the way out of the parking lot, I distinctly remember saying to my parents, "That place is never going to make it." Boy, was I wrong. A half century and untold billions of burgers later, McDonald's is the world's most profitable fast-food chain. In 2012, its 12,600 U.S.-based restaurants alone boasted $35.6 billion in sales -- nearly three times more than its nearest competitor, Subway, which has twice the number of U.S. outlets. Meanwhile, McDonald's 18,700 restaurants in more than 100 other countries grossed nearly $45 billion. The chain now serves more than 70 million people every day. It's no secret that McDonald's global reach has had a huge impact on diet, prompting more than 3,000 health professionals and institutions worldwide to sign on to a letter urging the company to stop marketing junk food to children. Less known, however, is Mickey D's supersized impact on the environment, especially when it comes to global warming. Besides the fact that the chain sells a lot of beef, which is by far the worst meat for the climate, it's one of the top 10 largest users of palm oil, the world's most popular vegetable oil -- and a major source of carbon emissions. Palm Oil Plantations Are Destroying Tropical Forests Americans are likely more familiar with canola, olive and other vegetable oils, but palm oil -- which comes from the flesh of the oil palm tree's fruit -- is ubiquitous. Along with palm kernel oil -- which comes from the fruit's seeds -- it turns up in baked goods, packaged foods, personal care products and cleansing agents. In addition, it's a common cooking oil in developing countries, and used to make biodiesel fuel worldwide. In and of itself, palm oil is not a bad choice. It's cheap, largely because growers can produce five to 10 times more vegetable oil per acre than from any other commercial oil seed. It is also one of the few naturally saturated vegetable oils, which makes it solid at room temperature and affords it a long shelf life. And it contains no trans fats, which have been linked to heart disease. That's the good news. The bad news is oil palm trees only grow in the wet tropics and, all too often, producers destroy tropical forests to plant them. Most of these plantations -- about 85 percent -- are in Indonesia and Malaysia. Clearing tropical forests, which contain enormous amounts of carbon, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Some Southeast Asian palm oil plantations also devastate critical habitat for elephants, orangutans, rhinoceros and tigers. Still others grab land from local communities or exploit child labor. And if that weren't bad enough, some palm oil plantations wipe out peatlands, which are wetlands topped with a thick water-logged layer of dead and decaying plant material. Peat soils store 18 to 28 times more carbon than tropical forests, and they can be as much as 60 feet deep. Dry peat is extremely flammable, and one of the ways producers clear land is by burning it, which sends tons of carbon dioxide and toxic pollutants into the atmosphere.  Palm oil plantations deforested some 6,100 square miles in Indonesian Borneo between 2000 and 2010, according to a 2012 study in Nature Climate Change. International Efforts Are Beginning to Pay Off In 2004, palm growers, processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, investors, and environmental and social justice organizations established the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to develop voluntary standards to protect tropical forests. The organization now has more than 1,600 members, which represent 40 percent of the palm oil industry. RSPO standards address a number of key issues, such as pesticide use and labor conditions, but don't go far enough to protect the climate. RSPO certification, for example, still allows producers to clear forests and peatland to create or expand plantations. Only pristine, or "primary," forests are off-limits. The standards also don't restrict carbon emissions from plantation development. They only offer guidelines for reporting emissions from forest conversion. Equally problematic, RSPO standards allow companies to buy inexpensive credits, called "GreenPalm" certificates, in lieu of buying RSPO-certified oil. The proceeds from the sale of those credits go to RSPO-certified palm oil producers, but the revenue generated doesn't remotely cover the true cost of ensuring that the palm oil is produced responsibly. In other words, GreenPalm certificates -- which may have made sense 10 years ago -- allow companies to claim they're doing something when they're still buying palm oil that may very well come from plantations that destroyed forests. Over the last decade, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, the Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund and others have been shining a light on unethical palm oil production and pressuring producers and consumers -- which include some of the world's largest food and cosmetic companies -- to commit to ending forest destruction and social abuses. In November 2012, scientists from leading academic and research institutions worldwide weighed in, issuing a statement calling on the RSPO to strengthen its standards. Ultimately signed by more than 200 scientists, the statement urged the organization to completely ban palm oil development on peatland and "high carbon stock forests," including "secondary forests," which are forests that have recovered after being logged. A year later, four RSPO producers -- Agropalma in Brazil, Daabon in Colombia, New Britain Palm Oil in Papua New Guinea, and Golden Agri-Resources, Indonesia's largest palm oil producer -- joined with a handful of environmental and social justice groups to launch the Palm Oil Innovation Group to promote "ambitious standards that stretch" RSPO guidelines. "We are building a strong case that palm oil does not need to be linked to forest destruction and exploitation," POIG said in a November 13, 2013, statement. "From producers and traders, through to palm oil consumers, we are creating an approach that can be replicated across the industry, and which will increase demand for responsible palm oil." These efforts, coupled with pressure from millions of people around the world, have spurred a dramatic turnaround. Last December, the world's largest palm oil trader, the Singapore-based Wilmar International, pledged to stop selling palm oil linked to deforestation or peatland development. Following Wilmar's announcement, vegetable oil giants Bunge and Cargill fell in line. Add Golden Agri-Resources, and they represent more than half of the global palm oil trade. Public pressure also has prompted L'Oréal, Nestlé, Unilever and other major corporate palm oil consumers to commit to completely eliminating deforestation from their supply chains. And in September of this year, 34 corporations joined national governments, indigenous peoples and nonprofit advocacy organizations to sign the nonbinding New York Declaration on Forests at the U.N. Climate Summit, vowing to cut deforestation in half by 2020 and ending it in 2030. McDonald's Do-Nothing Palm Oil Policy This rush to embrace climate-friendly principles was hastened by a March 2014 Union of Concerned Scientists report analyzing top U.S. brands' palm oil policies. UCS rated the 30 largest companies in the packaged-food, personal-care and fast-food sectors on their commitments to use deforestation-free, peat-destruction-free palm oil that is traceably and transparently sourced. Packaged-food companies had the strongest commitments. Fast-food companies, on the other hand, had the weakest. And that brings us back to McDonald's. McDonald's, an RSPO member and a signatory to the New York Declaration on Forests, received the second highest score among the 10 fast-food chains in UCS's survey, just behind Subway. But that's not saying much. McDonald's earned only 21 points out of a possible 100, a failing grade no matter how you slice it. The other eight, including Burger King, Wendy's and Yum! Brands -- parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell -- all rated a zero. According to the most recent report McDonald's filed with the RSPO, the company used 103,336 metric tons of palm oil in 2012. Less than 13 percent of that oil --13,000 metric tons -- was RSPO-certified, and the company claimed nearly a quarter of that oil -- 3,000 metric tons -- by purchasing GreenPalm certificates. McDonald's goal, as the company explains on its U.S. website, is for 100 percent of its palm oil to be "verified as supporting sustainable production by 2020." How does it plan to do that? By buying more RSPO-certified palm oil, which is not guaranteed to be deforestation-free, or purchasing more GreenPalm certificates, which at most provide a fig leaf for continuing to buy palm oil associated with deforestation. Contrast McDonald's do-nothing policy with that of Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. The company was one of the eight fast-food chains that scored zero in UCS's review of U.S. corporate palm oil commitments, but since then it has taken a 180-degree turn. In September, Dunkin' Brands announced it would buy only 100 percent deforestation-free palm oil by 2016, which goes way beyond McDonald's support for inadequate, outdated RSPO standards. Among other things, Dunkin' said it would ensure that its suppliers protect forests and peatland as well as cut carbon emissions from existing plantations. "Sourcing even limited amounts of palm oil irresponsibly can contribute to deforestation, loss of natural habitats, and other environmental and human rights concerns," said Christine Riley Miller, Dunkin' Brands' senior director for corporate social responsibility, in a September 16 press release. "Therefore, Dunkin' Brands has created clear guidelines for our suppliers, and to ensure independent verification that our principles are being met, so that by 2016 we can meet our targets of sourcing only responsibly produced palm oil." Besides Dunkin' Brands, eight other companies -- ConAgra, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, General Mills, Kao, Kellogg's, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble -- either initiated or strengthened their palm oil policies after UCS called them out in its scorecard. Those conversions, however, wouldn't have happened without a great deal of nudging. Take Dunkin' Brands' change of heart, for example. UCS and other groups, including Forest Heroes and SumOfUs, inspired tens of thousands of people to contact the company, and Forest Heroes even staged a demonstration outside of its annual shareholder meeting in May. Dunkin' Brands took note, and just a day after its mid-September announcement, one of its main competitors, Krispy Kreme, announced it also would upgrade its palm oil policy. If those corporate Goliaths can make the switch, surely public pressure can persuade McDonald's -- as well as Burger King and Yum! Brands -- to do the right thing, too. Want to help? You can join UCS's campaign by sending a message to McDonald's and other fast-food laggards by clicking here. Tell McDonald's the climate deserves a break today. Elliott Negin is a senior writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which is an RSPO member and a signatory to the New York Declaration on Forests.

02 июля 2014, 09:29

Сингапур/Австралия: Wilmar International и First Pacific решили понизить сумму предложения по приобр

Сингапурский производитель пальмового масла Wilmar International и фирма First Pacific решили понизить сумму предложения по приобретению австралийской компании Goodman Fielder примерно на 3,6% на фоне известий о том, что последняя намерена списать сумму своих активов. Заметим, что ранее сумма предложения была напротив повышена до 70 австралийских центов за каждую бумагу, а теперь стороны предлагают выплатить 67,5 австралийских центов за акцию или же 1,32 млрд австралийских долларов ($1,25 млрд).

16 мая 2014, 20:43

Сингапур/Австралия: Wilmar International и First Pacific повысили стоимость предложения по приобрете

Сингапурский производитель пальмового масла Wilmar International и фирма First Pacific повысили стоимость предложения по приобретению австралийской компании Goodman Fielder на 7,7% до A$1,4 млрд ($1,3 млрд). Стоит отметить, что в рамках нового предложения акционеры Goodman Fielder могут получить A$0,7 за каждую свою бумагу.

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27 февраля 2014, 18:00

Faber recommends Wilmar International Stock

Prices for commodities, such as soybeans, corn, and wheat, are now at reasonable levels. I am recommending Wilmar International [WIL.Singapore], an agribusiness company. It specializes in palm-oil... [[ This is a content summary Only. Please Visit http://www.marcfabernews.com for the full story, >>>>]]

19 февраля 2014, 19:15

Kellogg's to buy only sustainably sourced palm oil

Company forces suppliers to protect forests and peatlands, and respect community rightsThe food giant Kellogg's has caved in to public pressure and agreed to buy palm oil only from suppliers who can prove that they actively protect rainforests and peatlands and respect human rights. The move, which follows intense pressure from consumer groups around the world, is expected to improve the survival chances of highly endangered animals like the Sumatran tiger and the orangutan in southeast Asia, as well as provide some protection for indigenous peoples in Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, Latin America and west Africa who depend on tropical rainforests for a living. At least 30,000 square miles of tropical forest has been cut down in the past 20 years to supply the burgeoning global food industry with cheap palm oil to make packaged foods, ice cream and snacks. The deforestation has led to illegal land grabs, forest fires and social conflict in communities which depend on forest resources for their livelihoods. The heavy loss of peatlands has also contributed significantly to the increase in climate change emissions. In a statement, Kellogg's said that it will require its suppliers to "protect forests, endangered species habitat, lands with high carbon content, and peatland of any depth. Suppliers will also be required to protect human and community rights." "While palm oil is a very small percentage of our total ingredients, as a socially responsible company, concerns about the sustainable production of palm oil are clearly on our radar screen," said chief sustainability officer Celeste Clark. The company, whose brands include Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Special K and Pringles is thought to use about 50,000 tonnes of palm oil a year, said that it planned to impose the changes by December 2015. It has sales of $14bn (£8bn) annually, manufactures in 35 countries and sells food in over 180 countries. "This is clearly a step in the right direction. Now it needs to be implemented. This will limit the damage that has already been done but it shows that the palm oil industry is in transformation. Now it needs other major US and European companies to follow," said Pat Venditti, deputy forest campaign director at Greenpeace. The Kellogg's move, said Venditti, is expected to raise standards and increase pressure on other food giants and their suppliers to follow suit. It also represents a major success for environment and consumer groups who have challenged the industry's longstanding assurances that palm oil cultivation in Asia was "sustainable" and which has hidden behind easily-obtained green "certificates" which have not stopped the forest destruction even in national parks and on fragile peatlands. Kellogg's follows a string of food companies and their suppliers who have committed themselves to raising standards. It acted following reports last year that it had been using illegally-grown palm oil from Indonesia sourced from its supply partner Wilmar International, which controls over a third of the global palm oil trade. In December 2013 Wilmar committed to ban its suppliers from destroying forests and peatlands.Palm oilTrees and forestsWildlifeEndangered habitatsConservationEndangered speciesAnimalsDeforestationIndigenous peoplesIndonesiaAsia PacificAmericasFood & drink industrySustainable developmentEnvironmental sustainabilityJohn Vidal theguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds 

29 января 2014, 20:30

Faber recommending Wilmar International [WIL.Singapore], an agribusiness company

We've been discussing China's water problem. Pollution, too, has become so horrible that people are leaving China with their children. Sometimes, entire cities break down. You hardly have a clear day... [[ This is a content summary Only. Please Visit http://www.marcfabernews.com for the full story, >>>>]]

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24 декабря 2013, 10:38

Leading Palm Oil Company Agrees to Aim for Zero Deforestation

Amy Moas: Work remains to ensure Wilmar International follows through to reduce deforestation, a major contributor to climate change See more videos: http://therealnews.com