Friends of the Earth challenges 'green'
claims of Malaysian Palm Oil
PENANG (MALAYSIA) / BRUSSELS (BELGIUM), 7
October 2008 - Malaysian palm oil exported for use in food, biofuels and
cosmetics is far from 'green' - contrary to claims by Malaysian palm oil
producers - shows the new report "Malaysian Palm Oil: Green Gold or Green
Wash?" released today by Friends of the Earth groups. 
The 60-page long report examines the case of
the vast Malaysian state of Sarawak, which is developing large-scale plantations
at breath-taking speed having overexploited its timber resources and depleted
report exposes the misleading claim of the Malaysian palm oil lobby that its
palm oil is sustainable. Earlier this year the British advertising watchdog ruled
that Malaysian palm oil ads claiming that the oil is sustainable were
misleading the public. It is high time for Europe to limit its demand for palm
oil products and halt the use of edible oils for energy use," said Paul de Clerck,
Friends of the Earth International corporates campaigner.
Sarawak plans to more
than double its 2007 levels of oil palm acreage by 2010, taking it to a total
of 1.3 million hectares.
acceptance of Malaysia's palm oil claims will legitimise further tropical
deforestation, human rights violations against indigenous peoples and the
suppression of public participation in government decision making," said Friends of the Earth
International chair Meena Raman. Meena Raman, who is also SAM /
Friends of the Earth Malaysia Honorary Secretary, has been barred from entering
Sarawak since 1994.
The main findings of the report include:
1. Oil palm plantations are being expanded at
the expense of tropical forests, contrary to claims by the Malaysian palm oil
2. The 'carbon debt' of palm oil is huge when
the plantation is developed on peat soils and/or at the expense of forests.
3. In Sarawak plantation companies regularly practice open burning to clear land for planting,
even on peat soils, contributing to regional air pollution (haze) and to the
faster release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
4. Virgin forests promised to the Penan
indigenous communities of Sarawak have never materialised, contrary to the
claims of the Malaysian palm oil lobby.
For more information, please contact:
IN EUROPE Paul de Clerck, Corporates
Campaigner for Friends of the Earth International: Tel: +32-494-38 09 59
Anne van Schaik, Globalisation campaigner,
Friends of the Earth Netherlands / Milieudefensie: Tel: +31-6-29 59 38 77
Kenneth Richter, Biofuels Campaigner, Friends
of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland: Tel: + 44-20-75 66 16 71 (UK office number)
IN PENANG, MALAYSIA:
Meena Raman, Friends of the Earth
International chair and SAM/Friends of the Earth Malaysia Director: Tel: +60-12
43 00 042 (Malaysian mobile)
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 The executive summary of the report can be
found online at: http://www.foei.org/en/publications/pdfs/malaysian-palm-oil-exec-sum
The full text of the report for journalist
preview is online at: http://www.foei.org/en/publications/pdfs/malaysian-palm-oil