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The Big Business of Environmental Fraud

The Big Business of Environmental Fraud and Palm Oil Bashing

By Lisa Everson

Environmental fraud is big business. The natural level of discomfort that results from the thought of global warming is reinforced by numerous reports claiming inevitable environmental doom. A recent article in the Nature Magazine went as far as predicting that over the next fifty years well over one million species will cease to exist due to global warming.

Coupled with the fear prompted by environmental experts and know-it-alls is a plethora of scams. Some attempt to persuade our beliefs, while others operate with the intentions of fraud. Far from being verified is one claim that global warming is a man-made predicament. Instead of drawing these conclusions from observable facts, these assumptions are based on methods of computer modeling that generate artificial, easily manipulated graphic-based visions of the earth. A computer can only process the information fed to it, which in this case is usually fraudulent data intended to stir up controversy.

Other types of environmental fraud target those who carry enough concern about the planet to make a difference. These scams typically find their way to you via email, online survey or fraudulent website. Often, criminals will make an attempt to persuade you into contributing to the prevention of global warming, preservation of the rain forest or other environmental issues. These frauds are experienced and rather savvy, able to produce content that makes them appear legitimate. Some of them will even steal logos and other identifying materials to masquerade themselves as reputable environmental organizations. To further complicate matters, you typically will have no way of knowing where your contribution actually went.

What is more disconcerting to Deforestation Watch is that environmental fraud does not appear to be the exclusive purview of the scam artistes sitting around a desktop trying to phish for your personal information to commit identity theft and run up hundreds to thousands in debt. What is most concerning may be the possibility that even some very big and well established environmental organizations may be out to exploit environmental issues not out of a legitimate concern for the environment, but as a source of funding for their never ending environmental gravy train.

How else can it be explained when environmental organizations like Greenpeace and the Friends of the Earth (FOE) elect to attack palm oil, one of the most sustainable of oilseed crops? The sheer incongruity of the rationale behind their attacks defies and beggars belief!

First, palm oil is the most productive of all oilseed crops, typically yielding more than 4.5 metric tons of oil per hectare. That is close to ten times the yield of the competing oilseeds such as soy, canola and sunflower. What this translates to and should be apparent to even the casual observer is that palm oil requires ten times LESS land to produce the same unit of oil!

This is borne out be the fact that Malaysia, the largest producer of palm oil has been producing palm oil for more than a hundred years and yet, the country has managed to preserve forest cover of more than 65%. That palm oil is planted mainly on legitimate agricultural land and that there is no necessity to resort to massive deforestation to plant palm oil.

Despite these obvious facts, Greenpeace and the FOE, for reasons best known to them still launched their incomprehensible and venomous attacks against palm oil, even going to the extent of attacking the first shipment of RSPO certified palm oil by United Plantations (UP).

It is well known that the RSPO certification is not easy to obtain with a whole host of conditions to fulfill complete with a stringent audit process. UP also has more than a hundred year history of compliance with sustainable planting practices.

For Greenpeace to yet launch such a baffling attack on UP’s first shipment of RSPO certified sustainable palm oil raises the specter that Greenpeace is not really sincere about ensuring sustainability but more to kick up the dust to ensure that the lucrative gravy train that is palm oil bashing continues unabated!


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