The “greenwashing” efforts of UK airlines may be contributing to the destruction of rainforests in Asia, openDemocracy can reveal. The aviation industry began boasting of using ‘sustainable aviation fuel’ (SAF) last year. It claims this will help it to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 because it is made from ‘waste and residue’ materials and can produce 80% less emissions than fossil jet fuel. But government data reveals that more than 80% of the 26 million litres of SAF supplied to airlines in the UK last year was made from imported “used cooking oil”. Most came from countries in Asia, where its authenticity has been questioned.
Industrial palm oil production in West and Central Africa is mainly controlled by five companies: Socfin, Wilmar, Olam, Siat, and Straight KKM (former Feronia). These multinationals control an estimated 67 per cent of the industrial oil palm planted area with foreign investment and may drive continuous expansion. (1) Their established industrial plantations have been linked to numerous impacts on the populations and territories. The impact on water availability for communities that live in and around industrial oil palm plantations is systematic and dramatic. This is becoming increasingly evident with the many community reports of water scarcity and water pollution. Industrial plantations often lead to loss of lakes, springs or streams, directly affecting the livelihoods and wellbeing of communities.
Sumatra, Indonesia - With his hand clamped tightly over her mouth, she could not scream, the 16-year-old girl recalls – and no one was around to hear her anyway. She describes how her boss raped her amid the tall trees on an Indonesian palm oil plantation that feeds into some of the world’s best-known cosmetic brands. He then put an ax to her throat and warned her: Do not tell. At another plantation, a woman named Ola complains of fevers, coughing and nose bleeds after years of spraying dangerous pesticides with no protective gear. Making just $2 a day, with no health benefits, she can’t afford to see a doctor.
A report published by the environmental NGO Biofuelwatch  reveals that the Finnish biofuel and oil company Neste, which expects to become the world’s biggest producer of aviation biofuels in 2019 , relies heavily on palm oil, a leading cause of rainforest destruction, and still cannot guarantee that its palm oil is not sourced from illegal plantations inside a national park. Neste is investing €1.4 billion in new biofuel capacity in its Singapore refinery, which the company plans to turn into a hub for aviation biofuel production .
Thirty Greenpeace UK volunteers and a lifelike animatronic orangutan recreated a rainforest at the main entrance to the corporate headquarters of Mondelez, makers of Oreo cookies near Uxbridge. Five climbers scaled the outside of the building to hang a banner that reads ‘Oreo, drop dirty palm oil’, and volunteers are decorating the building with giant Oreo-shaped stickers. They are also handing out information to staff about the impacts of Oreo’s links to palm oil producers that destroy rainforest. As staff arrived, they heard sounds of the rainforest along with recorded messages expressing customers' disappointment at the company’s link to forest destroyers.
In France, some 200 farmers dumped dirt on the roads leading to the Total refinery in Grandpuits as well as parked about 40 tractors to form blockades. Farmers in France have blocked access to several oil depots and refineries in protest – that is organized to last three days – against the proposed use of imported palm oil at a Total biofuel plant. According to the president of the National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions, Christiane Lambert, 13 sites will be blocked early Monday following five that were blocked on Sunday. The companies, on the other hand, have urged people to not panic-buy gas as it would result in shortages. Some 200 farmers dumped dirt on the roads leading to the Total refinery in Grandpuits Sunday night, as well as parked about 40 tractors, president of the Jeunes Agricultures, Sebastien Guerinot, said.
Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, announced last month that they would stop purchasing palm oil from a Guatemalan producer tied to human rights violations, environmental destruction, and corruption. The move was the result of years of pressure from Guatemalan and international activists. Nestlé’s decision to end relations with Reforestadora de Palmas de El Peten S.A. (REPSA), stems from the company’s role in the contamination of the Río Pasión river in northern Guatemala, and the corruption and impunity that followed. “Nestlé’s decision to cut ties with REPSA is a step in the right direction and a victory for all the activists who have fought for years to bring REPSA’s actions to light,” Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Director at Friends of the Earth, wrote in a press statement.
By Benjamin Dangl for Toward Freedom. Industrial farming of food ingredients such as soy and palm oil, for example, have led to massive deforestation and displacement of rural communities in Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, and elsewhere throughout the globe. Activists standing up against such industries in defense of forests, rivers, land, and the livelihoods of local communities have been threatened and murdered at an increased rate in recent years. Four environmental activists were murdered each week in 2016 for defending their communities and environment from the impacts of agribusiness, mining, and logging industries, according to a report from the human rights organization Global Witness. In Colombia, activists standing up against the impacts of El Cerrejón, Latin America’s largest open-pit mine, have faced regular threats and violence. Jakeline Romero has organized against the water shortages and displacement caused by this mine, which is owned by Glencore, BHP Billiton, and Anglo-American. “They threaten you so you will shut up,” Romero told Global Witness. “I can’t shut up. I can’t stay silent faced with all that is happening to my people. We are fighting for our lands, for our water, for our lives.”
By Ecoterra. In addition to the official petition (please see below and sign up) addressed to the United Nations and the international community, ECOTERRA Intl. and friends of Peoples close to Nature (fPcN-intercultural) together with their affiliates and supporters worldwide, call for: BOYCOTT INDONESIA !!!- until the rights of the aboriginal peoples of West Papua are respected and their independence is restored. West Papua is home to around 312 diverse Indigenous Peoples, including some uncontacted peoples. West Papua is illegally occupied by Indonesia and the genocide against the West Papuan People is going on since 1962 unabated. In West Papua the world’s longest‐running military occupation and genocide has killed more than 500,000 people, and is destroying the world’s second‐largest rainforest as well as 50,000 years of indigenous culture. The peaceful protests and demands of the people of West Papua and their worldwide supporters therefore must be now enhanced by all honest people worldwide and boycotting the aggressors has become mandatory.
By Valentina Stackl for Earth Rights - EarthRights International (ERI) filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of Honduran farmers charging two World Bank Group members with aiding and abetting gross violations of human rights. The suit arises out of the substantial financial support two World Bank entities, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the IFC Asset Management Corporation (IFC-AMC), invested in Honduran palm-oil companies owned by the late Miguel Facussé. His companies – which exist today as Dinant – have been at the center of a decades-long and bloody land-grabbing campaign in the Bajo Aguán region of Honduras.
By Jocelyn Zuckerman and Michael W. Hudson for the Huffington Post. Sungai Beruang, Indonesia -- Revan Pragustiawan loved his home by the river. The little boy’s ancestors built the place in a rainforest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, using local bark and leaves in the traditional style of the Batin Sembilan tribe. Over the years, his dad had improved the house with wood and a metal roof. Revan felt safe there, sleeping on a plastic mat huddled up with his family, and spending his days playing with his sister and helping with chores. By the summer of 2011, he was 5 years old, big enough to help his mother fetch drinking water from the river and look forward to helping with a new garden his dad and some neighbors were planning to sow along the riverbank. Everything changed for Revan on the morning of August 10, 2011.