Tigers, Oreo Cookies and Greed…

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
All rights reserved

The indomitable and implacable Travelling Gourmet tells you about how greed and avarice sometimes disregards humanity and the environment…

MANY know this famous poem by Blake: Tiger, Tiger burning bright in the forests of the night…
but now the Sumatran tiger is in danger of extinction…WHY?
The reason, as stated in the Greenpeace International report published on 22 October, 2013 entitled “Licence to kill” is because of companies like Wilmar International, headquartered in Singapore.

Please see: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Licence-to-kill/
To quote:
As few as 400 tigers are thought to remain in the rainforests of Sumatra, which are vanishing at a staggering rate – a quarter of a million hectares every year. Expansion of oil palm and pulpwood plantations was responsible for nearly two-thirds of the destruction of tiger habitat from 2009 to 2011, the most recent period for which official Indonesian government data are available. Such destruction fragments the extensive tracts of rainforest over which tigers need to range in order to hunt.
Although Wilmar has undertaken to preserve high conservation value (HCV) forests and peatland on its own concessions, these areas supply less than 4% of the palm oil it trades and refines, with the remainder being produced by third-party suppliers. In relation to Wilmar, Greenpeace has documented deep peatland fires in oil palm concessions; wholesale rainforest destruction and illegal oil palm plantations within the Tesso Nilo National Park, harvests from which have previously been tracked to Wilmar’s own mills and which continue to feed into Indonesia’s palm oil supply chain; and extensive clearance of both tiger and orang-utan habitat. Wilmar is known to own, have a significant stake in or trade with most of the producers Greenpeace has documented as engaging in such irresponsible or illegal activities.

Today, on October 24, 2013, in an exclusive interview with The Travelling GourmetTM, Lim Li Chuen, Director, Investor Relations and spokesperson for Wilmar international said vehemently, “Greenpeace only gives one side of the issue. We have been engaging with Greenpeace…this report is very disappointing to us. These are complex issues that take time to resolve…”
I asked her, “But this wanton and indiscriminate burning of the forests in Indonesia has been going on for 40 to 50 years so how much more time is needed???”
Lim Li Chuen answered, ‘This kind of attack is counter-productive…We have issued a very detailed rebuttal. It is at http://www.wilmar-international.com in the sustainabily section. We are working with our suppliers, third parties and NGOs but it is very difficult to work with them…”
I enquired further, “What concrete and positive steps are being taken by Wilmar to address the issues raised in the Greenpeace report?”
Lim Li Chuen replied, “We are reviewing our business strategies and practices…”

To be brutally frank, which is not my usual style, I was not very convinced by her ambiguous answers.
Lim Li Chuen can be contacted at +65 6507 0592.

When Channel News Asia contacted Wilmar International in Indonesia, they did not respond.

On the Wilmar website they say: In our farming practices, we have also adopted a responsible plantation management approach that enables us to enhance nature’s biodiversity without compromising yields or plantation profitability.
In a nutshell, we firmly believe that environmental conservation and economic prosperity through sustainable agriculture can work in practice.
At the same time, we also recognise we can do much more to benefit the world with help and support from other stakeholders. This refers to engaging stakeholders through listening and addressing their concerns into our business decisions and actions as well as forming strategic collaborations with them, where relevant. (Nice words that mean very little in my opinion)


To conclude my special report, here is an excerpt from the Greenpeace report:
“Greenpeace’s investigations have revealed that household names including Colgate Palmolive, Mondelez International (formerly Kraft), Neste Oil, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and a host of other companies are linked to Singapore-based Wilmar International Ltd and its international trade in dirty palm oil. Wilmar is the world’s largest palm oil processor, accounting for over one-third of the global palm oil processing market and with a distribution network covering over 50 countries.
Greenpeace believes that Wilmar and the household brands that buy its palm oil must recognise the true costs of irresponsible palm oil production. They need to ensure that their palm oil supply makes a genuine contribution to Indonesia’s development, rather than destroying the future for its people, its wildlife and the global climate on which we all depend.”

No one can do everything but everyone can do something!
Let us start by BOYCOTTING Oreo Cookies, Colgate Palmolive Soap, Mondelez International (formerly Kraft) products like Kraft cheese, Neste Oil, Reckitt Benckiser and the rest of them!!! The environmental terrorism in Indonesia must be stopped!!!


UPDATE: 12 Feb 2014

Burning again!


Singapore’s gutsy Minister of the Environment gives us the real picture…

About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cuisines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." Have pen, will travel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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4 Responses to Tigers, Oreo Cookies and Greed…

  1. Get Smart says:

    Friends of the Earth Netherlands made review of Wilmar palm oil in PT Jatim Jaya Perkasa in 2004 acting in Sumatra Riau. Wilmar had 20,800 hectare land. Dutch Rabobank and IFC finanzed Wilmar. Satellite photos proved plantations were in the sea shore peat rain forests in 2004. The depth of the peat was over four meters. Indonesian law should protect such a peat land. However, Wilmar received despite the peat land permission in 1997. According to local people company dangere Sumatran tiger that lives in the area. This was a conflict in 2004. Soon there after Wilmar sold the company and joined WWF palm oil association. In July 2007 Friends of the Earth and two local environmental organizations criticized the illegal forest cuts in Kalimantan Indonesia.


  2. Reblogged this on The Travelling Gourmet and commented:

    More burning! Be prepared…get your N95 and N99 masks ready and also gas masks. The environmental terrorists are at it again…committing Crimes against the Environment and therefore against humanity…PERFIDY!


    • Without TOUGH sanctions from the Environmental orgnisations like dynamic Greenpeace, Friends of the earth and maybe in a few thousand years..ASEAN and the UN, the evil environmental terrorists in Indo nesia and elsewhere will not stop. Consumers must boycott companies and products involved like Wilmar Int’l, Arnotts cookies, Kraft Foods, Palmolive soap, Colgate and more…hit them where in counts >>>their profit margin!!!


  3. foodie says:

    Unfortunately, it’s difficult to avoid palm oil products completely. They’re in many many products everywhere such as chocolate, bread, bar soap, dairy creamer, condensed milk. 😦


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