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Palm Oil CEO - Industry Can Pay To Reforest: Groups Taking $$ Must Present "Positive" Industry Image

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-27-09 12:27 PM
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Palm Oil CEO - Industry Can Pay To Reforest: Groups Taking $$ Must Present "Positive" Industry Image
arlier this month at a colloquium to implement wildlife corridors for orangutans in the Malaysian state of Sabah, Dr. Yusof Basiron, the CEO of Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), told conservationists and primate experts that the palm oil industry was ready to fund reforestation efforts in the corridors.

"We can raise the money to replant and keep contributing as a subsidy in the replanting process of this corridor for connecting forests," Basiron said in response to a question on how the palm oil industry will contribute. "Money is not a problem. The commitment is already there, the pressure is already very strong for this to be done, so it's just trying to get the thing into motion." He added: "I hope it can be done." Basiron didn't specify how the palm oil industry planned to fund reforestation, which can be quite expensive, but earlier in the speech he mentioned the MPOC's Wildlife Conservation Fund. This fund was started in 2006 with 20 million ringgits (approximately six million US dollars) half from the Malaysian government and half from the palm oil industry.

Despite the availability of these funds conservationists at the conference said that most organizations shied away from taking the money. Not because the funding was from the heavily-criticized palm oil industry, but because of conditions attached to the funds. According to a brochure put out by MPOC the monies used in the fund must to portray the good image of Malaysian palm oil by providing concrete assurances that its cultivation does not cause deforestation or loss of wildlife and their habitat.

However, peer-reviewed independent scientific studies that have shown that biodiversity drops over 80 percent when forest is exchanged for oil palm plantations and 55-59 percent of palm oil plantation between 1990 and 2009 in Malaysia occurred on forested land. "Information obtained from these research projects will be used to convince and assure palm oil users and NGOs that Malaysian palm oil is produced sustainably with minimal or no negative impact on the environment," the statement continues, implying that researchers are expected to paint the palm oil industry positively even if their findings say otherwise.

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