World's biggest oil palm producer criticized for breaking pledge

Wilmar, the world's biggest producer of palm oil, has been heavily criticized for holding a sham public hearing in Balikpapan, Indonesia.

Make way for oil palm...

Make way for oil palm...

Wilmar made headlines recently for its pledge to stop clearing any habitats considered of 'High Conservation Value' (HCV)--such as native forest and carbon-rich peatlands. 

But in Balikpapan, Wilmar held a recent public hearing in an attempt to have an important, wildlife-rich forest tract classified as non-HCV, so it could then clear that forest.  But it didn't invite conservation groups or scientists--the very people who were most concerned and best informed about the forest--to the meeting.

Incensed NGOs and scientists have decried Wilmar's tack, saying it violates the spirit and intent of its no-deforestation pledge.

Clearly, Wilmar will have to be watched closely in future to see if it upholds its key promises.  When it comes to such things, actions speak louder than words.