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Wilmar International
Выбор редакции
08 марта, 03:50

Meet The Singapore Futures Trader Who Has Bought 3,000 Swimming Pools Worth Of Sugar

There is a new powerhouse dominating the U.S. futures market for raw sugar contracts and it's creating a bit of confusion among the the more established trading houses of the world's most volatile commodity markets.  The firm is Wilmar International, a Singapore-based agribusiness whose major shareholders include the family of Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok and Chicago-based Archer Daniels Midland.  Founded 26 years ago, Wilmar is one of the world's largest palm-oil producers but was essentially non-existent in the sugar market until just a couple of years ago. Now, in just two short years, Wilmar has scooped up more than 6 million tons of raw sugar, enough to fill roughly 3,000 Olympic-size swimming pools at a cost of some $2.3 billion, by physically settling tens of thousands of futures contracts and collecting the commodity from ports across South America and elsewhere.   The timing and size of the purchases have raised some concerns among other futures traders that Wilmar may be looking to manipulate global sugar prices.  As the Wall Street Journal points out, purchases made by Wilmar in 2015 were large enough soak up the entire global supply glut that pushed sugar prices to multi-year lows.  The effects of Wilmar's moves have been the subject of debate among traders. At one point in 2015, when sugar prices were at multiyear lows because of a world-wide glut, Wilmar bought so much that traders say the company in effect mopped up that year's global oversupply. In the rally that followed, sugar prices more than doubled.   Then, as prices peaked in September last year, Wilmar changed course and delivered excess sugar it owned to other traders on the exchange. Sugar prices fell 24% in the ensuing months.   The company's size and scale, however, are sowing concerns among some traders that it could control a large amount of the world's tradable sugar and influence prices.   "They are a market mover," Nick Gentile, head trader of New York commodities trading firm Nickjen Capital, said of Wilmar. Around two-thirds of the world's sugar production is consumed in the countries that produce it, and the rest is traded internationally.   Of course, Wilmar denies the importance of their massive trades in determining global sugar prices saying they represent just a small component of a very fragmented commodity market. Jean-Luc Bohbot, the 48-year-old Frenchman who runs Wilmar's sugar business, said there is no evidence that the company's trades affect market prices. That is "very much an incorrect view," he said in a recent interview. "Sugar is an extremely fragmented commodity, with a very large number of players around the globe."   While Wilmar's sugar purchases and sales appear in some cases to have preceded rising and falling prices, Mr. Bohbot said, "There is no clear correlation" between the two. Over the past few decades, sugar prices have gone in both directions when there were large physical deliveries, he added. But perhaps even more rare than Wilmar's quick rise to become one of the world's largest sugar traders, is their propensity to take physical delivery of the sweet stuff and ship it to refineries in Asia and the Middle East, often at a loss.  Physical settlements of futures trades, however, are rare. Exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange Inc. estimates that fewer than 0.5% of trades result in the actual delivery of commodities. The vast majority of futures contracts are unwound by traders before they expire because most firms want to avoid the hassle of transporting commodities to or from inconvenient locations. With sugar futures, buyers don't know where in the world they will have to pick up the sweetener until after the contracts expire.   That hasn't deterred Wilmar. Mr. Bohbot said the company has found it economical to purchase sugar in bulk using futures contracts, because the exchange's rules require sellers to deliver the sugar on board buyers' ships, which facilitates international trading. In other commodity markets, such as grains or metals, the handover usually happens inside warehouses in locations that often might not be easily accessible.   Mr. Bohbot said Wilmar ships and sells most of the raw sugar it buys to refineries in Asia and the Middle East, where consumption is growing. This sort of trading, however, is often barely profitable when shipping and other costs are factored in, he said, noting, "There is very little margin, and sometimes no margin." And while their strategy may be confusing to other large trading houses, it certainly seems to be working as the company's sugar division posted a 33% year-over-year increase in revenue in 2016 on the back of substantially higher sugar prices...which we're sure has nothing to do with their massive trading volume but rather was just the result of a little bit of 'luck'.

Выбор редакции
30 июня 2016, 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 2016, 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.

02 апреля 2015, 18:56

KFC, Pizza Hut & Taco Bell Commit to Deforestation-Free Palm Oil. Who's Next?

Kentucky Fried Chicken may have changed its name to KFC years ago to downplay its cooking method in a more health-conscious consumer market, but the world's second-largest fast food chain didn't stop frying. And like most global fast food restaurants, its oil of choice has historically been palm oil. From a purely business perspective, that makes sense. Palm oil is cheap, naturally saturated, and free of trans fat, and it's used in a wide range of baked goods, packaged foods and personal care products. But from a broader perspective, all too often it's a disaster. Oil palm trees only grow in the wet tropics, and growers routinely destroy tropical forests to plant them, releasing massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Some palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia also devastate critical habitat for elephants, orangutans, rhinoceros and tigers. And still others steal land from local communities and exploit child labor. KFC's parent company, Yum! Brands, which also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, announced today that by the end of 2017 it will only buy palm oil cooking oil from suppliers that protect tropical forests and peatlands--swampy areas that store even more carbon. That's a big deal. Yum! Brands has more than 41,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories around the world. Yum! Brands' announcement comes just a day after the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a report analyzing top companies' palm oil commitments. It's a follow-up to the organization's March 2014 report that rated the 10 largest companies in the packaged food, personal care and fast food sectors on their professed plans to use deforestation-free, peat-destruction-free palm oil that is traceably and transparently sourced. At the time, the packaged food companies had the strongest standards. Fast food companies had the weakest. The new report tracks the 30 companies' progress over the last year and adds a fourth category, the house brands sold by the 10 largest supermarket, pharmacy and discount store chains. Only eight of the 40 companies surveyed this year have adopted palm oil commitments that fully protect forests and peatlands. Those companies are ConAgra, Danone, Kellogg's, Nestlé and PepsiCo from the packaged food sector, and Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel and Procter & Gamble from the personal care sector. Fast food chains, despite today's Yum! Brands announcement, are still lagging far behind, and store brands are just as bad. Dunkin' Runs on Deforestation-Free Palm Oil Besides Yum! Brands, whose welcome announcement came too late to include in the updated UCS scorecard, the lone bright spot over the last year in the fast food sector was Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. The company was one of the eight fast food chains, including Burger King, Starbucks, Wendy's and Yum! Brands, that scored zero in UCS's March 2014 review. But last fall Dunkin' Brands announced it would buy only 100 percent deforestation-free palm oil by 2016 for its U.S. locations and provide a schedule for its global operations sometime this spring. McDonald's, which recently got some good press when it announced it will stop selling chicken treated with antibiotics, didn't score zero, but it's still a prominent laggard. The world's largest fast food chain says its goal is for 100 percent of its palm oil to be "verified as supporting sustainable production by 2020," but UCS found its plans to meet that goal woefully inadequate. Burger King, the world's third-largest fast food chain, inched up from zero in 2014 to 10 out of a possible 100 in UCS's new scorecard, which is still pitiful. Five years ago, the company pledged to review "its overall rainforest policy to include all of its products," but it has yet to come up with a policy. Nestlé's Makes the Very Best... The packaged food sector, meanwhile, is still setting the pace. Nestlé, Danone and Kellogg's had the highest scores in this year's survey, and the three companies -- along with ConAgra and PepsiCo -- strengthened their pledges to protect forests and peatlands over the past year. Kraft Foods, which recently announced plans to merge with Heinz to form the third-largest U.S. food and beverage company, was the worst of the lot. It has no palm oil policy. Heinz has a written commitment, but it does not ensure that tropical forests and peatlands will be protected. The most-improved category in UCS's survey was the personal care sector. Last year, L'Oréal was the only company in this sector fully committed to forest and peatland protection, with Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Clearasil and Veet, not far behind. Over the past year, three other companies -- Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel and Procter & Gamble -- joined them by making strong forest- and peat-protection commitments. This year, UCS decided to add the store brands produced by top supermarket, pharmacy and discount store chains to its palm oil scorecard. Twenty-five percent of the products sold in large supermarkets sport a store's house label, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association, so these chains could play a sizable role in helping reform the palm oil industry. Unfortunately, most store brand products don't measure up. Safeway is the only one of the 10 companies that is fully committed to deforestation- and peat-free palm oil. Three other companies--Kroger, Walmart and Whole Foods--have made palm oil pledges, but they are relatively weak. Given that Walmart launched a sustainability initiative to great fanfare 10 years ago, and Whole Foods is ostensibly all about sustainability, their assurances are surprisingly feeble. Time to Turn Up the Pressure Over the last two years, the international campaign to protect tropical forests from unscrupulous palm oil plantation owners has made considerable progress. Public pressure prodded Wilmar International, the world's largest trader; Golden Agri-Resources, Indonesia's largest producer; and vegetable oil giants Bunge and Cargill to commit to stop selling palm oil linked to deforestation or peatland development. And just this week, Archer Daniels Midland, a large palm oil and soy trader, announced it will "build traceable and transparent agricultural supply chains that protect forests worldwide." Together, the five companies represent more than half of the global palm oil trade. Advocacy groups and hundreds of thousands of citizens also have pressed consumer product companies to adopt palm oil standards. Since last fall, Dunkin' Brands, Krispy Kreme and Yum! Brands joined their ranks. Still, only eight of the 40 companies in UCS's latest survey have made iron-clad declarations to buy only deforestation-free palm oil. And despite today's announcement, Yum! Brands did not become the ninth. Its commitment only covers the oil it buys for frying. It does not include the oil in its sauces or biscuits and other baked goods, which the chain's restaurants buy from other suppliers. So there is still much to do. You can join UCS's campaign to persuade fast food chains to do the right thing by clicking here. Tell Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast food slackers to buy only deforestation-free palm oil. Elliott Negin is a senior writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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.

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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

16 апреля 2013, 20:33

Сингапур/Марокко: компания Wilmar приобрела долю в Cosumar

Крупнейший в мире публично торгуемый производитель пальмового масла Wilmar International заявил о приобретении 27,5%-ной доли акций марокканского поставщика сахара Cosumar. Сообщается, что стоимость сделки составила 2,3 млрд марокканских дирхамов ($263 млн).

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22 октября 2012, 23:43

ADM, Wilmar Tie Up Officially - Analyst Blog

Archer Daniels Midland recently announced that it has been certified officially to tie up with Wilmar International Limited.