Palm oil

Greenpeace prevented tanker loaded with dirty palm oil products from mooring in Rotterdam harbour

Image Copyright Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Greenpeace
Rotterdam, 24 November 2018 – Climbers from Greenpeace Netherlands have prevented a gigantic palm oil tanker from mooring in Rotterdam harbour. The team of climbers hanged from the side of the 185m long Stolt Tenacity, a cargo ship loaded with palm oil products belonging to Wilmar, the world’s biggest and dirtiest palm oil trader, and supplier to global snack food giant Mondelez. They hung banners with the message ‘Drop Dirty Palm Oil’ to peacefully protest against the ongoing deforestation of Indonesia’s rainforest for palm oil.

Greenpeace Netherlands have ended their action now since the safety of the three climbers could no longer be guaranteed after police instructed Greenpeace’s accompanying support boats to keep their distance. The harbour police then removed the climbers from the side of the tanker and took them to the Marconiplein police station.

A week ago another group of six climbers from Greenpeace International delayed the same vessel for two days near the Strait of Gibraltar. The climbers were detained for 33 hours in a cabin by the captain, but subsequently released without any charges.

Greenpeace is calling on Mondelez, the maker of Oreo cookies, to drop its major supplier, Wilmar, until it can prove its palm oil comes from producers that are not destroying rainforests or exploiting people. A Greenpeace International investigation exposed Wilmar’s total failure to break its link to the cutting and burning of large areas of rainforest. Mondelez is one of the world’s largest buyers of palm oil, and uses it in many of its best-known products, including Oreo, Ritz, and Cadbury. [1]

Lara Wido Mathovani from the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, was one of the activists in Rotterdam and part of the Greenpeace Fire Prevention Team: “Near my village, palm oil companies torch the land to make way for plantations. Every year fires get out of control. Every year my people are choked by the haze and trees are reduced to ashes. Back in the forests I fight the fires on the frontline, but today I am taking action far from home to tell Oreo they must drop dirty palm oil, for the forests and for us.”

“Palm oil can be produced without cutting and burning rainforest and this is what brands like Mondelez promised to their customers almost a decade ago. Instead, the company making 40 billion Oreo cookies a year, continues to use dirty palm oil. It’s time that Oreo leads by example and cut Wilmar off until it can prove its palm oil is clean”, said Andy Palmen, campaign coordinator with Greenpeace Netherlands.

Recent mapping analysis by Greenpeace International found that palm oil producers in Mondelez’s supply chain have destroyed 70,000 hectares of rainforest across Southeast Asia in two years.

The Netherlands: Europe’s biggest palm oil importer

The Netherlands is the biggest importer of palm oil in Europe. In 2017 palm oil with a value of two billion euros was imported, 22 percent more than in 2016. Most of the palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. [2]

Climate change

The action is part of Greenpeace’s international campaign* to end deforestation and related CO2 emissions, land-grabbing and the abuse of labour rights in the production of palm oil. Tropical deforestation produces more greenhouse gas emissions each year than the entire European Union; outranking every country, except the USA and China.

“We have to protect our remaining rainforests if we’re going to limit temperature rises to 1,5 ° C as called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October,” concluded Palmen.

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