/ ©: Alain Compost / WWF-Canon

From Forest to Smoke

Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park is one of the last safe havens for critically endangered Sumatran elephants and Sumatran tigers.

After WWF's investigation revealed that 2 of the world's largest palm oil companies purchased palm oil fruit grown illegally within the the protected area, the companies have agreed to only source oil palm from traceable sources.


 

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Much of Riau’s forests have been cleared for oil palm plantations to meet worldwide demand for pulp and paper.

Analysis by WWF-Indonesia found that Asian Agri and Wilmar purchased palm oil fruit that was illegally grown within the boundaries of the Tesso Nilo Forest Complex, an area that includes Tesso Nilo National Park and surrounding forest concessions where it is illegal to plant palm oil.

The good news is that through WWF’s analysis and engagement with Wilmar and Asian Agri, both companies have now taken measures to stop sourcing illegally produced fruit. 

Making companies accountable is not enough

Palm oil is in countless products, including potato chips, instant noodles, margarine, cereals, baked goods, soap, and cosmetics. 

Given the prevalence of palm oil in numerous commodities, consumers around the world may be unwittingly contributing to the destruction of Tesso Nilo and its forests. 

Now, WWF is pushing for the government to enforce laws protecting Tesso Nilo and other areas. A clear chain of custody for palm oil is crucial.

WWF’s report is just the beginning. Ultimately, all companies buying palm oil should ask their suppliers about the entire chain of custody of the palm oil they purchase and confirm its legality.

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