Yesterday, another major palm oil trader committed to a new no deforestation, no peat, and no exploitation policy. The announcement from White Plains, New York-based Bunge comes on the heels of a successful campaign by Forest Heroes and allies to convince Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme — two big customers of Bunge’s palm oil — to commit to deforestation-free doughnuts.
Clearly, the trader has heard from its customers that the American public doesn’t want to choose between delicious treats and forest conservation.
“Today the supply chain worked, because consumer demand was heard,” said Kaytee Riek, Campaigns and Training Director with the global consumer watchdog SumOfUs, which is part of the Forest Heroes coalition, and whose activists have urged Bunge to take action over the last several months. “Consumers care about their forests and their climate. Forward-thinking commodity traders like Bunge are hearing this and profiting from it, while those like Musim Mas who cling to old models of “bulldoze and plant” risk losing access to customers and markets. Bunge made a smart decision today.”
Bunge now joins agribusiness giants Wilmar, Golden-Agri Resources, and Cargill in committing to responsible palm oil sourcing, which together comprise the vast majority of global palm oil trade.
“Bunge’s announcement sends a clear message to rogue actors in the palm oil industry that you can’t escape the push for forest and peat conservation,” said Forest Heroes chairman Glenn Hurowitz. “Customers want products made in an environmentally responsible way, period. That’s true for Sarawak, Indonesia, Africa, and beyond.”
What makes this announcement particularly important is that Bunge is committing to stop buying palm oil from suppliers that destroy ultra carbon-rich peatlands, known as “deep carbon”. With this move, Bunge could help stop the rampant deforestation of peatlands in the Malyasian state of Sarawak, in the heart of the island of Borneo, where Bunge buys the majority of its palm oil.
Of course, this announcement is just the start, and now the company must get on with the hard work of rapidly implementing the policy, and extending it across all of the agri-giant’s many commodities.
Hurowitz explained, “For its part, Bunge needs to move forward with fast, aggressive and transparent implementation, including in joint ventures like its Bumiraya Investindo plantations in Kalimantan. It needs to meet the demand from its consumer-facing customers for limiting the use of hazardous pesticides, treating methane effluent, and protecting wildlife. Finally, Bunge should build on the progress it’s making in palm oil and join competitors Wilmar and Cargill in applying its Forest Conservation Policy across all the commodities it trades around the world.”
Below, find a roundup of the media coverage of this exciting announcement from Bunge.
E&E News: Agribusiness giant Bunge announces zero-deforestation commitment (subscription required)
Business Green: Agri-giant Bunge commits to zero deforestation palm oil
Food Navigator: Bunge commits to deforestation-free palm oil
Union of Concerned Scientists: Agribusiness Giant Bunge Commits To Deforestation-Free Palm Oil
TCE Today: Bunge makes sustainable palm oil pledge