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TOP STORIES CSR Sugar owner linked to palm oil deforestation in Indonesia

8th December 2016
by Team Newism

The owner of some of Australia's most famous food brands has been linked to deforestation in Indonesia after new footage of land clearing in North Sumatra was obtained by 7.30.

Key points:

  • Land-clearing on palm oil plantation filmed last month in Aceh's Leuser Ecosystem
  • Palm oil plantation a supplier of Wilmar International, owner of CSR Sugar, Meadow Lea, Helga's Bread
  • Wilmar says it halted buying from rogue operator in October, 2016

Wilmar International owns CSR Sugar and has a 50 per cent stake in Goodman Fielder, the maker of Meadow Lea margarine, Wonder White and Helga's Bread, and Praise Mayonnaise.

The footage reveals an excavator tearing down forest and digging canals in the Tripa peatland, part of the crucial Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra, and a key habitat for endangered wildlife.

"It is the last place on earth where you can find Sumatran orangutans, the tigers, the elephants and the rhinos all coexisting together in the wild," said Gemma Tillack, campaign director with the US-based Rainforest Action Network.

The clearance has been taking place on a palm oil plantation which was part of the Wilmar supply chain, and in spite of a moratorium on land clearing in the Leuser Ecosystem announced by the Aceh Government.

'Stop the bulldozers in their tracks'

Environmental campaigners are challenging Wilmar to investigate the latest footage.

"Wilmar is connected to the destruction of Tripa's peatland, and it is connected to the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem," Ms Tillack said.

"Wilmar needs to go beyond the mill, they need to get down to the frontline of forest destruction and stop the bulldozers in their tracks."

Wilmar's assistant general manager of group sustainability, Perpetua George, described the Leuser Ecosystem as the "last refuge for iconic wildlife species".

Something needs to be done to combat deforestation and protect their stronghold without trading off the livelihood of local communities living in that landscape,"

Ms George - CSR Sugar

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