Palm oil giant defends its deforestation in Gabon, points to country’s ‘right to develop’

Mongabay| 19 December 2016

  • Olam International is leading the industry’s expansion into Africa, seen as a new frontier for palm oil firms who are running out of land in Southeast Asia.

    Singapore-headquartered Olam International is the subject of a new report by NGOs Mighty and Brainforest that alleges forest destruction by the company in Gabon.

  • Olam counters that it is only expanding into Gabon’s least valuable forested lands and that the clearance is necessary for Gabon to pull itself out of poverty.
  • The debate raises questions about what it means for a country to develop sustainably, and whether deforestation should be seen as a means to that end.
  • Olam has also released a list of its palm oil suppliers in response to the NGOs’ allegations that the firm is a “black box” that buys and sells palm oil links to deforestation and human rights abuses.

Agribusiness giant Olam International has for the first time published a list of the firms it buys palm oil from, part of the company’s response to allegations that it is driving forest destruction in Southeast Asia and, more dangerously, perhaps, in West Africa.

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