Last month UK Tory MP Kemi Badenoch announced that a new UK trade deal would cut tariffs on palm oil imports from 12% to zero.
This move will likely grease the way towards the UK importing palm oil deforestation and human rights abuses from Malaysia and Indonesia into the UK.
Environmental groups: CUT Campaign, Palm Oil Detectives, Bruno Manser Fond, Save Rivers, Extinction Rebellion and many others strongly object to this decision by the UK government. Read on below to watch the video, sign the petition and join the #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife movement to take action against palm oil greed and ecocide.
On Friday 21st April the Clean Up the Tropical Timber Trade team and supporters gathered outside of the Department of Business and Trade in London.
Founder of the CUT Campaign, Dr Teo Hoon Seong read out a heartfelt letter to MP Kemi Badenoch, urging her to reconsider the removal of the palm oil tariff.
The UK have recently entered into the Comprehensive & Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This has been strongly contested by many environmental groups including Palm Oil Detectives.
Malaysia has demanded that the UK drop its’ import tariff for palm oil from 12% to zero as a condition of entry.
As a group, we anticipate that the UK’s loosened approach to palm oil trade will be disastrous to rainforests, rainforest peoples, endangered animals and endangered plants in Malaysia and Indonesia.
CUT Campaign, Bruno Manser Fond, Save Rivers, Palm Oil Detectives and many other environmental groups are deeply concerned that this action will increase ecocide, deforestation, indigenous land-grabbing, extinction and carbon emissions by destroying the last remaining patches of primary rainforests in Borneo, particularly Sarawak (East Malaysia).
The anticipated benefit to the UK economy is a mere 0.08% of GDP – at a massive cost to the environment.
In this climate crisis we are in – the UK government is worried about appeasing their corporate benefactors and industry lobbyists over the wellbeing of future generations in the UK and in the Global South.
Malaysia’s Johor Royal Family own palm oil plantations linked to deforestation
Of particular concern is the strong connection between the Malaysian Royal Family and palm oil deforestation. If the highest levels of society in Malaysia are deeply invested in palm oil deforestation in that country – looser regulation of palm oil in the UK will likely grease the way for increased deforestation, indigenous land-grabbing, human rights abuses and carbon emissions.
The palm 0il plantation AA Sawit is 51% owned by Sultan Ibrahim. His son Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is one of the company’s two directors
Why is this important?
We demand that the UK set the toughest environmental standards possible for palm oil imports, so we don’t get left behind while other countries continue to uphold tough standards.
Britain is finalising entry terms to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an 11-member regional trade agreement, after two years of negotiations. According to reports, Malaysia has successfully demanded Britain cut its palm oil tariffs immediately on entering the pact.
This would be a green light to deforestation and destruction of habitats for endangered animals like orangutans. It would be a disaster for the natural world, and set a terrible precedent for future trade deals. The EU already bans palm oil imports unless they can be proven to be deforestation-free. We – the public – do not want to be left behind, forced to use products without any environmental safeguards. Sign petition on the 38 Degrees website.
What environmental advocates say
“The removal of tariffs on palm oil products from Malaysia without any environmental safeguards makes it very hard for the UK to call itself a climate leader committed to tackling deforestation and protecting precious habitats of endangered species”.Alex Wijeratna, Senior Director of Deforestation Campaigns for Mighty Earth told the Financial Times.
“No one trusts the standards of reporting and the criteria for certification in a country where basic environmental impact assessments are not even carried out in advance of logging.”Clare Rewcastle Brown, editor of Sarawak Report, told Byline Times
So far, indigenous peoples have not benefited from the development of the palm oil industry. There was a promise by the palm oil industry to improve the lives of indigenous peoples through plasma plantations. However, in practice plasma plantations have not had a positive impact on their lives.Dayak Ethnographer Dr Setia Budhi was interviewed by Palm Oil Detectives about the rampant expansion of palm oil in Borneo and its impact on Dayak peoples.
“For too long, communities in Sarawak and elsewhere have been ignored while decisions are made to clear their traditional lands and forests. As a significant importer of Malaysian timber, the UK has a responsibility to ensure that our demand for wood, and other commodities like palm oil, do not destroy precious forests and cause harm to people overseas.”
The UK Government needs to hold companies to account for environmental harm and human rights abuses in their supply chains, and to give affected communities the ability to seek redress for damage caused to their lands and lives.”Clare Oxborrow, Friends of the Earth’s
Forests and Supply Chains Campaigner told CUT Campaign.
“Without the forest, the Penan people cannot survive. The forest is our bank, our supermarket our hospital. This is our life – the way we survive. We hope that governments open their ears to hear our demands: to stop the logging in Sarawak and to stop buying timber from Sarawak.”Komeok Joe, a Penan elder told CUT Campaign.
Read more about RSPO greenwashing
Big brands using “sustainable” RSPO palm oil yet still causing deforestation (there are many others)
Despite global retail giant Colgate-Palmolive forming a coalition with other brands in 2020, virtue-signalling that they will stop all deforestation, they continue to do this – destroying rainforest and releasing mega-tonnes of carbon…Read more
Procter & Gamble
Despite decades of promises to end deforestation for palm oil Procter & Gamble or (P&G as they are also known) have continued sourcing palm oil that causes ecocide, indigenous landgrabbing, and the habitat…Read more
Johnson & Johnson
Global mega-brand Johnson & Johnson have issued a position statement on palm oil in 2020. ‘At Johnson & Johnson, we are committed to doing our part to address the unsustainable rate of global…Read more
PZ Cussons is a British-owned global retail giant. They own well-known supermarket brands in personal care, cleaning, household goods and toiletries categories, such as Imperial Leather, Morning Fresh, Carex, Radiant laundry powder and…Read more
Contribute in five ways
1. Join the #Boycott4Wildlife on social media and subscribe to stay in the loop: Share posts from this website to your own network on Twitter, Mastadon, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube using the hashtags #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife.
2. Contribute stories: Academics, conservationists, scientists, indigenous rights advocates and animal rights advocates working to expose the corruption of the palm oil industry or to save animals can contribute stories to the website.
3. Supermarket sleuthing: Next time you’re in the supermarket, take photos of products containing palm oil. Share these to social media along with the hashtags to call out the greenwashing and ecocide of the brands who use palm oil. You can also take photos of palm oil free products and congratulate brands when they go palm oil free.
4. Take to the streets: Get in touch with Palm Oil Detectives to find out more.
5. Donate: Make a one-off or monthly donation to Palm Oil Detectives as a way of saying thank you and to help pay for ongoing running costs of the website and social media campaigns. Donate here