International Day of Action to Save Tripa Rainforest

Written by Ashley Schaeffer

Topics: Agribusiness

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While many of us realize on some fleeting, uncomfortable level that our generation holds the future of countless species and ecosystems in our hands, rarely is the choice to allow extinction to happen – or to fight like hell to stop it – so clear as it is right now with humankind’s closest relative, the orangutan.

Join the International Day of Action to Save Orangutans

Join the International Day of Action to Save Orangutans

The historic tragedy unfolding right now in the Tripa rainforest of Indonesia is a wake up call to the world that the iconic orangutan is in serious danger of becoming the first of the great apes to be pushed to extinction by reckless corporate destruction of their rainforest habitat. If this unspeakably sad fate comes to pass, no one will be able to say we didn’t see it coming.

Home to Indigenous communities and critical to the survival of endangered Sumatran orangutans, Tripa is still in peril from the land clearing fires started by palm oil companies in March. Check out the expose on Tripa we released just last week.

The End of the Icons coalition has called for an International Day of Action on Thursday, April 26, to save this 130 million year old forest and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve from reckless palm oil expansion.

The goal of this Day of Action is to generate hundreds of photos of people holding powerful signs with a message calling on the Indonesian President SBY to enforce the law and save critically endangered Sumatran orangutans by stopping the illegal palm oil expansion inside the Tripa peat forests which led to almost 100 fires. The images will be used in demonstrations in Jakarta as well as to generate media.

Please register your interest by emailing for a full information packet.

In addition to taking our own photo petition, RAN is taking part in this day of action by urging our supporters to call Cargill and demand that the company adopt supply chain safeguards to ensure it’s not profiting from this tragedy. Over 300 RAN members have already called. Can we count on you?

The agribusiness giant trades a quarter of the world’s palm oil, and with nearly 50% of all packaged goods at the grocery store now containing palm oil in one form or another, that means companies like Cargill are complicit in connecting anyone who shops at the grocery store to the destruction of Indonesia’s precious rainforests via their current un-safeguarded supply chain.

Cargill needs to hear from you – and hundreds of other rainforest advocates like you – so they will take action at this critical moment. Call Cargill now!

7 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Mark_Murphy says:

    As Ashley’s colleagues at RAN know, Cargill does not do business with PT Kallista Alam, the company accused of setting fires in the Tripa forest of Indonesia. Nor does Cargill import Indonesian palm oil to the United States.

    Cargill does have standards in place for responsible palm production. We are proud to be the first company developing a 100-percent-sustainable supply chain for palm oil. Our own plantation that RAN visited was among the first to be certified sustainable in 2009. We have been supplying sustainable palm oil since 2010 and are helping lead efforts to encourage all suppliers to do so. We also work with local communities and respected environmental groups to conserve forest and the creatures that live there.

    For everyone passionate about saving rainforests, you can help by supporting the work being done by the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and Flora & Fauna International.

    Mark Murphy, Asst. VP for Corporate Responsibility, Cargill

  2. J. Patrick Malone says:

    The problem, Mark, is that Cargill is dedicated to sustainable palm oil development and production – *not* sustainable ecosystems, biodiversity, or indigenous cultures.

  3. @Mark,

    Although it warms my heart that you are passionate about saving rainforests with WWF, CI and FFI, Cargill needs a real wake up call before anyone is going to believe that you are legitimately saving orangutans or protecting forests.

    In response to your comment, I would like to share the statement we just released to set the record straight.

    Rainforest Action Network Sets Record Straight on Cargill and Tripa Forest Controversy

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    SAN FRANCISCO (4.24.2012)—Yesterday, agribusiness giant Cargill responded with misleading statements to a report recently released by Rainforest Action Network (RAN). RAN’s report, Truth and Consequences: Palm Oil Plantations Push Unique Orangutan Population to Brink of Extinction, points out that Cargill has no safeguards on its global palm oil supply chain, and that without such safeguards Cargill cannot ensure it is not contributing to egregious violations like the one underway in Tripa peat forest of Indonesia.

    In response to Cargill, RAN issued the following statement:

    “Cargill claims that it ‘does not import Indonesian palm oil to the United States.’ This is pure obfuscation. By Cargill’s own estimate, nearly 90 percent of the world’s palm oil is sourced from Indonesia and Malaysia, and the company traffics a whopping 25 percent of the world’s palm oil. Cargill’s claim that it does not ship any Indonesian palm oil into the U.S. is misleading and insincere, as a percentage of Indonesia’s palm oil is refined in Malaysia before being shipped to the US.

    “Cargill also claims that it is not associated with the devastating fires raging throughout the Tripa rainforest of Indonesia. Cargill is hiding behind a shell game of shifting company ownership and complicated trade relationships between a web of subsidiary suppliers. However, the fact is that Cargill has a history of trading with at least one company that has profited from the destruction of the priceless Tripa rainforest.

    “Trade data held by Rainforest Action Network shows that Cargill shipped at least 4,000 tons of crude palm oil produced by Astra Agro Lestari from the island of Sumatra in 2009. Astra Agro Lestari produced and exported palm oil from Tripa until at least 2010.

    “According to Bloomberg, Astra Agro Lestari also sells millions of dollars of palm oil a year to industry giants Wilmar and Sinar Mas – two major suppliers of palm oil to Cargill. With a lack of supply chain transparency and no safeguards to prevent it, Cargill cannot in good faith claim never to have sold palm oil connected to the destruction of the endangered Tripa forest.

    “Cargill has an enormous influence to exercise on the global palm oil market. The only way Cargill can guarantee it is not contributing to the devastation underway in Indonesia is if it adopts explicit environmental, social and transparency safeguards to prevent it, which does not mean relying on a third party like the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). It does mean taking responsibility for the practices of its suppliers. Cargill as a company has not articulated its values for its supply chain, meaning it does not publicly position itself against common abuses associated with palm oil production like slave labor and deforestation.

    “Cargill has stated an intention to phase RSPO certified oil into its global supply chain by 2020. However, the RSPO has at best a very spotty track record of enforcing its own rules to prevent tragedies like the one underway in Tripa. At the rate of destruction occurring today, 2020 is too little too late for the forests, people and wildlife of Southeast Asia.

    “Just today, Unilever, the world’s largest buyer of palm oil, announced a commitment to buy all of its palm oil, including its palm kernel oil, from traceable sources by 2020. Cargill’s modest commitments explicitly exclude palm kernel oil, an important commodity in the US market. Cargill also has no commitment to traceability, a crucial element for achieving transparency and accountability.

    “Cargill is showing an alarming failure to deliver on its time-bound commitments including to secure RSPO certification for all of its palm oil plantations by the end of 2010, and completion of a survey and review of the practices of its palm oil suppliers by early 2011.”

  4. May Faulk says:

    I would like to comment on the rude treatment of one particular employee at Cargill Industries. This afternoon (4/24/12) I telephoned Cargill to ask them to cease its connects with companies that set fire to the Sumantran rainforests. I spoke for approximately 1 to 2 minutes explaining that I had formerly visited the Sumatran rainforest and as an Environmental Educator I was concerned about the orangutans. I began to speak about Cargill’s need for palm oil for products; however, before I could continue the employee made a rude noise and transfered me to voice mail thus I believe Cargill is well aware of its practices and the employees are not interested in public comments. Thus, I question Cargill’s public relations practices.

  5. Frances Yan-Man-Shing says:

    Dear Mark Murphy,

    Is it true that Cargill plans to add a new palm oil crushing plant in Indonesia?
    According to Bloomberg news, Cargill plans to build a palm oil crushing plant in Indonesia. See ://

    If Cargill doesn’t export palm oil from Indonesia to the US, why are you building a new palm oil crushing plant in Indonesia?

    Many thanks

  6. Mark_Murphy says:

    May, we’re sorry if you weren’t treated with respect. Were you calling to our offices in the U.S., Europe or Asia?

  7. Mark_Murphy says:

    Frances, we’re planning a mill there because it will be near our Hindoli plantation, where we grow certified sustainable palm. It will be part of our sustainable supply chain.


Trackbacks For This Post

  1. EPA Underestimates Emissions from Palm-Based Biofuels « endoftheicons
  2. Good News for Species on the Brink of Extinction in Tripa » Rainforest Action Network Blog

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