Thursday, October 17, 2013

Letter to Friends of the Earth (in as much space as the form on their website would allow . . . )

Dear Friends of the Earth:

The REDD monitor reports that the Banda Aceh Administrative court, which is not in Aceh at all but in Medan, North Sumatra, overturned the revoking of a permit by a palm oil concern in the Tripa Swamp (Nagan Raya District on the west coast).
It went on to say that “Friends of the Earth will assist the Acehnese government in appealing this decision.” Can you provide us with any updates to this case? We are gratified to learn this, but surprised since the Aceh government has been pro-palm oil all along. Can you also tell us what the provincial government has formally decided to do about the re-zoning, of protected forest? As far as we know it’s still up in the air. I suspect that this has not impeded big palm oil and big mining from continuing its assault, especially in Aceh, where they think no one's watching and no one cares. But we are watching, and we care.

Jembatan Masa Depan (JMD) is the only local sustainable livelihoods NGO operating in Aceh. It is currently focusing on assisting women cocoa farmers in Aceh Timur. I work for one of its donors providing administrative support and we have been gathering as much information as we can about the palm oil concerns in the region, as they are destroying the resource and the livelihood of the people living on the buffer of the rainforest. Aceh Timur is the province’s best hope for economic leadership through cocoa, and due to the protracted civil conflict and now the “re-zoning” of protected forest, plus government complicity, palm oil will be steamrolling over the entire district. The foundation hat supports JMD has been trying to investigate the root causes of this and frankly we are stumped. We.want to develop an expose of Big Palm Oil’s eradication of cocoa and cocoa farmers from Aceh Timur.

I received a helpful reply saying they get hundreds of emails (which I'm sure they do.)  Maybe they will respond. 

In the meantime, I am not disparaging them--here's a recent article on their website--enough to make your stomach turn:

Is your money in palm oil?

Wilmar International, the largest palm oil producer in the world, has been rated the world's least sustainable company for two years running by Newsweek.  Wilmar couldn't exist without the shareholders and banks that finance nearly ninety percent of its assets.

Many of us don’t know who actually manages our money, let alone what they do with it.<

Check the following list to see if your money could be invested in Wilmar and stay tuned for more opportunities to speak out against the financing of forest destruction!

The following North American investors enable Wilmar to keep destroying tropical forests:

BlackRock: $112 million in Wilmar
Bank of America has extended credit to Wilmar exceeding $106 million
Baring Asset Management: $22.7 million in Wilmar
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation: $1.5 million in WIlmar
Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec: $9.9 million in Wilmar
CalPERS: $24.9 million in Wilmar
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board: $6.3 million in Wilmar
Capitol Group International: $39.6 million in Wilmar
Charles Schwab Corporation: $1.6 million in Wilmar
Citigroup has extended credit worth $43.7 million to Wilmar
Dimensional Fund Advisors: $8.11 million in Wilmar
Fidelity Investments: $28.22 million in Wilmar
Geode Capital Management: $5.91 million in Wilmar
Global X Management: $.94 million in Wilmar
Goldman Sachs: $1.75 million in Wilmar
Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Company: $1.4 million in Wilmar
IndexIQ Advisors: $.92 million in Wilmar
INVESCO: $6.5million in Wilmar
Jefferies Group: $.84 million in Wilmar
J.P. Morgan Asset Management: $24 million in WIlmar
Northern Trust Corporation: $7.8 million in Wilmar
State of Wisconsin Investment Board: $3.3 million in Wilmar
State Street Corporation: $16.9 million in Wilmar
TIAA-CREF: $14 million in Wilmar
Toronto Dominion Bank: $1.03 million in Wilmar
Van Eck Global: $268.41 million in Wilmar
Vanguard Group: $54.75 million in Wilmar
Wellington Management Company: $3.59 million in Wilmar

- See more at:

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