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Palm oil giant vows to spare most valuable Indonesian rainforest

Golden Agri-Resources – the world's second highest palm oil producer – bows to pressure from the west

Source:  Copyright 2011, Guardian
Date:  February 9, 2011
Byline:  Fiona Harvey
Original URL: Status ONLINE
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The world's second biggest palm oil company has agreed to halt deforestation in valuable areas of Indonesian forest, bowing to pressure from western food processors and conservationists.

Golden Agri-Resources Limited has committed itself to protecting forests and peatlands with a high level of biodiversity, or which provide major carbon sinks, as part of an agreement with conservation group the Forest Trust.

However, the agreement announced on Wednesday will still leave GAR free to exploit other areas of forest, and land that is judged to be of lower conservation value.

Greenpeace, which has strongly criticised GAR in the past for its alleged destructive activities, is expected to keep a close watch on the company to ensure it lives up to its promises. Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace's campaign to protect Indonesian forests, said: "This could be good news for the forests, endangered species like the orangutan and for the Indonesian economy.

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