A study found that 3/4 of oil palm concessions in Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo certified by RSPO were forest or wildlife habitat just 30 years ago!

It seems that so long as the initial cause of the deforestation was not palm oil (or perhaps not the current owners of the palm oil farm?), then even if it is immediately converted into palm oil plantations, it can be counted as sustainable.

I think that few people would claim that practices like this are sustainable

This is absurd. It should obviously be the case that if an area is deforested illegally, then it should be reforested, not get the right to permanently become part of the crop areas.

Not really good.

It essentially means that the RSPO affiliation means nothing, as those of us concerned about the destruction of the rainforest and the loss of the biodiversity that it contains cannot trust them at all. I have written in the past, about Newquay zoo getting its signs wrong on avoiding palm oil. What is clear, is that almost none of the palm oil from Indonesia can claim to be avoiding deforestation as you’d expect. Has the RSPO destroyed their authority for ever? Time will tell.

What is clear is that this is not a new thing. Back in 2016 the Huffington post wrote an article “RSPO: Completely Worthless, or Just Mostly Worthless? (UPDATED)” (click the article to read it in another tab) in which it basically outlines many of the points from this latest assessment. This study was more thorough, so can tell us the extent of the problem, but what is clear is that it is not new.

Should the RSPO be given a second chance? I would argue not. If they have not cleaned up shop in 6 years, then there is going to be little rainforest left before they actually get their act together. Can it be done? Ferrero is ranked number 1 out of 173 by WWF on sustainable palm oil sourcing. Clearly it can be done – However, brands that hold onto RSPO may well start being avoided by the eco-concerned. If they are that useless then why even look for their mark

A logging company based in in Borneo taking a bizarre action

The company in question, which has no rights to do any logging, is now suing the longtime inhabitants and owners of land it wants to clear, for trespass.

This is obviously quite peculiar, and a case that should be laughed out of court. The community alleges the company has encroached on community land, has withheld key documents about the certification process, and failed to obtain free, prior and informed consent of affected communities during the certification process. 

This should be very simple, if they have permission and they got it legally without dishonesty they will be able to prove it. All of the evidence would suggest that that is not going to be possible, and therefore they should be laughed out of court, unfortunately that is not likely to happen.

New species of Orangutan

The Tapamuli Orangutan has recently been discovered. There are only thought to be 800 of these animals left and they are only found within the Batang Toru Forest of North Sumatra. It is thought that they have been a separate from the Borneon Orangutan for 674,000 years (despite living on Sumatra they appear to be more closely related to the Orangutans of Borneo than of Sumatra). As well as having such a tiny population they also live in an area of roughly 1000 square kilometres (386 square miles). This is the first great ape species to be discovered since 1929 when the Bonobo was discovered.

See Animals Wild