NEW DELHI: A new report published on Tuesday said that India’s desire for palm oil is helping to destroy tropical forests in Indonesia.
The Greenpeace report said that Indians are using palm oil for cooking and everyday grocery items, but the overuse is causing massive damage to forests in the Southeast Asian country.
In its report “Frying the Forest” the group called on Indians to boycott products by brands Britannia, ITC, Parle and Godrej, such as biscuits and soap, until the companies commit to sustainable palm oil supply chains.
“Palm oil plantations in Indonesia are expanding rapidly every year to meet India’s demands,” Greenpeace forest campaigner Mohammed Iqbal Abisaputra said in Jakarta.
“We are asking Indian consumers now to stop buying products made from unsustainable Indonesian palm oil.”
India is the world’s hungriest nation for palm oil, consuming almost 7.4 million tons last year, or 15 percent of global production, almost all of it imported, US Foreign Agricultural Service data show.
Of that amount, 5.8 million tons is imported from Indonesian companies, many of which Greenpeace claims are illegally clearing carbon-rich peatland.
One company targeted by the group is Duta Palma, which owns 155,000 hectares of palm oil plantations in Indonesia, the report says.
The company is deforesting peatland up to eight metres deep on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, the report says, despite a law banning the clearance of peatland more than three meters deep