Domestic product brands such as Nestle, Unilever and P & G are buying palm oil from suppliers found to be partly responsible for the forest fires currently ravaging Indonesia and covering areas of the country. Southeast Asia in a harmful cloud, according to a new study by Greenpeace.
The companies, as well as some of the largest palm oil traders in the world, have purchased products from producers related to some 10,000 fires, according to an analysis of information provided by Greenpeace on the supply chain.
All companies purchase palm oil at specific plantations under investigation for fires of 2019 and at plantations for which lawsuits have been filed against them for fires 2015-2018, said the environmental group.
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The United Nations has warned that nearly 10 million children are threatened by air pollution by fires that have raged since July and that reportedly rejected 360 million tonnes of CO2 between August 1 and 18. September – a figure close to the UK's total production in April. 2018.
"Companies have created a façade of sustainability. But they are getting the worst offenders, "said Annisa Rahmawati, head of the Greenpeace Forest Campaign in Indonesia.
"Fire companies and those who benefit financially should be held accountable for these environmental atrocities and the devastating health effects caused by fires."
Four of the palm oil traders named in the report – Wilmar, Cargill, Musim Mas, and Golden-Agri Resources – reportedly supplied more than three quarters of the world's palm oil in 2015, according to the Center for Oil and Gas. International based in Indonesia. Forestry research.
According to Greenpeace, 30 producer groups are mainly linked to recurring fire crises in Indonesia. All are active on the world market. Nestle has bought 28 of them, Unilever at least 27 and P & G at least 22, the report said.
Annual fires are often lit by farmers trying to clear land for palm oil and pulp plantations, using a technique called burns. Many of the deforested areas are on peatlands, which releases centuries of carbon when it burns in the soil, often for weeks.
In August, the Indonesian minister in charge of monitoring the palm oil industry announced that more than 80% of the plantations were using illegal practices and not complying with regulations.
Species in the affected areas include orangutans and Sumatran rhinoceroses that are critically endangered. Between July and October, more than 800,000 hectares of jungle were destroyed
In September, Malaysia closed 409 schools in the state of Sarawak, in the east of the country, because of the haze. The government was forced to distribute half a million masks for residents.
The government has sent tens of thousands of officials to try to fight hell and has arrested hundreds of people since the fires started.
But Indonesia has denied allegations that the forest fires caused the toxic haze that enveloped Malaysia.
A government spokesman previously said the disorder may be caused by other fires currently taking place in Malaysia, as well as in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, East Timor and in Thailand.
This year's fires, exacerbated by dry weather, are the worst since 2015. They have been attributed to 100,000 deaths and 500,000 casualties, according to a study conducted jointly by Harvard and Columbia universities. The people affected lived mainly in Indonesia, but also in Malaysia and Singapore.
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. It is found in common food products and cosmetics such as bread, chips, ice cream, breakfast cereals, chocolate, shampoo and laundry powders.
According to the WWF, about 50% of packaged foods contain palm oil.
The analysis of the Greenpeace supply chain states that Nestlé is linked to palm oil producers who caused the largest area of deforestation between 2015 and 2018, with an estimated area of 190,500 hectares.
Unilever would be linked to companies assumed to be responsible for an area of 179,500 hectares during the same period.
A spokesman for Nestle said the company was deeply concerned about the fires and was monitoring the situation closely. The company is committed to ensuring that none of their products is associated with deforestation, they said.
"We are currently investigating and verifying occurrences of land cleared by burning, as we do for other clearings," said the spokesman.
"We will immediately stop using a supplier linked to a deforestation activity. Ten suppliers have already been removed from Nestle's palm oil supply chain because they did not meet the requirements of our responsible sourcing standard. This is publicly disclosed on our website. "
The spokesman cited data from Global Forest Watch, according to which more than three quarters of the 318,000 fire alarms reported during the fog season occurred outside the concession areas.
"This suggests that these are carried out by independent producers and smallholders who plan to expand their plots," the spokesman said. "Our experience shows that preventing deforestation requires smallholder engagement. Actions must support livelihoods and support communities.
"That's why we provide technical assistance to nearly 50,000 smallholder farmers and multiply initiatives to help them increase the productivity of their crops and diversify their income. The goal is to make forest conservation economically attractive, restore forest stocks and promote regenerative agriculture. "
A spokeswoman for Unilever said the company had already suspended purchases from a number of suppliers mentioned in the report and that she was the only consumer goods company to have published a public complaint report so that these problems can be identified and addressed.
"We are currently reviewing the complete list of companies to understand all possible links with our extended supply chain and, in accordance with our palm oil policy, will take appropriate action," said a door. Floor-. "Better monitoring helps us all to understand whether individual fires have been intentionally lit or are the unfortunate consequence of an extremely dry season in Indonesia.
"If burnt land is subsequently planted, this may indicate deliberate deforestation. That's why we have stepped up our efforts to increase traceability through emerging technologies such as satellites, geolocation, blockchain and artificial intelligence, and collaborate with large companies and technology start-ups to develop new approaches that the whole sector can benefit from.
P & G were contacted for a comment.