Extract from “Penalized Palm Oil Giant feels like ‘a Naughty Child’ and Acts like One”

But here is where it gets interesting. IOI accepts the charges but not the decision based on them. In other words, the Malaysian conglomerate agrees that its Indonesian subsidiaries engaged in environmentally harmful slashing and burning (a finding that was amply documented by a green group), but insists that this should have been no cause for suspension.

Shouldn’t a company that professes to abide by international guidelines of sustainability be expected to monitor the conduct of its subsidiaries that are likewise expected to abide by those same rules? “Our rehabilitation is probably not what it should be” is all that Surina allowed in what seems like a bit of an understatement, to say the least.

It was the first time the RSPO imposed its ultimate sanction – the withdrawal of certificates from a company – and the company at the receiving end of the decision is still smarting from it. Such sanctions will be necessary if the palm oil industry, whose environmental reputation isn’t exactly stellar, is to regain a measure of public trust by adhering to stringent environmentally friendly practices.

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