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Greenpeace barricades Fonterra HQ

Greenpeace barricades Fonterra HQ

Greenpeace activists have barricaded the entrance to Fonterra’s corporate headquarters in Princes St, Auckland.

The (1.8 high x 2.4 metre long) barricade has large TV screens built into it, which are delivering shocking scenes from the expansion of the currently unsustainable palm industry into the rainforests of South East Asia. Fonterra buys its palm kernel animal feeds from this industry.

A Greenpeace New Zealand-led team was arrested and detained for 23 hours in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, last Sunday (September 19 – 20) while documenting this expansion.

The memory cards and tapes from their cameras were wiped, in an effort to censor what the team had witnessed.

But the team had already sent some vision back to New Zealand.

Those images are included in the video being played out of the barricade.

The Greenpeace team is also this morning moving through Fonterra’s offices, handing out information to staff, and installing speakers inside the building’s lifts, each of which have a recorded message addressing Fonterra’s staff .

In the interests of the safety, the fire exits from the building have not been blocked. All entrances to the building remain open.

The barricade has put in place at 8 am this morning.

Images from the event, taken from inside and outside the building, are available (details below).

Greenpeace is demanding that Fonterra and the Government put an end to New Zealand’s importation of palm kernel grown on areas of destroyed rainforest.

Deforestation in South East Asia is driving climate change and pushing endangered species like the orangutan to the brink of extinction.

Twelve months after Fonterra’s connection to the palm industry was exposed by the ‘Sunday Star Times’ and Greenpeace, the dairy giant has only increased the quantities of palm kernel it buys to feed its dairy herd.

“Fonterra has implicated New Zealand in this shocking aspect of the palm industry through its unnecessary use of palm kernel,” says Greenpeace New Zealand Communications Manager Suzette Jackson, who was one of those detained on Sunday.

The site, or concession, that the team documented is typical of the currently unsustainable practices of the palm industry. Now being cleared by Sinar Mas, this area of rainforest is thought to be part of one of the last refuges for the critically endangered orang-utan. A High Conservation Value Assessment is required to meet Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards. Yet despite Sinar Mas’, subsidiary PT SMART (which own the concession the Greenpeace team visited last weekend), being a member of the RSPO, there is no sign of any such assessment having been performed for this concession.

“As the palm industry opens up new frontiers across Indonesia, companies like Fonterra, which is expected to spend NZ$230 million this year buying up a quarter of the world’s traded palm kernel, is helping to fuel this destruction,” Jackson says.

According to recent estimates, Indonesia is the third largest greenhouse gas polluter of any nation on the planet, largely due to the destruction of its rainforest and peatlands. (1)

The rapid industrialisation of dairying in New Zealand, driven by Fonterra, is driving the increased use of palm kernel as a supplementary feed. Greenpeace New Zealand maintains that relying on pasture and local alternatives for emergency drought relief, such as maize silage, which is grown by New Zealand farmers, are the best options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This year it is expected New Zealand will import well over one million tonnes of palm kernel for Fonterra’s farms. (2)

This flies in the face of the actions taken by other companiesincluding Nestlé, Kraft, and Unilever, all of which have recently dropped contracts with Sinar Mas due to its environmentally destructive practices. In addition, Burger King has committed to removing Sinar Mas products from its supply chain in response to a recent auditor’s report into Sinar Mas’ activities. (3) Meanwhile, Cadbury New Zealand has publicly stated that it stopped using palm oil in its Dairy Milk products after a consumer campaign led by the Auckland Zoo.(4)

“Fonterra is becoming increasingly isolated on the world stage as companies like these respond to public concerns over the worst environmental impacts of the palm products industry,” says Jackson.

Fonterra’s half-owned subsidiary, RD1, has a joint venture with international palm oil and palm kernel producer and trader Wilmar – the company International Nutritionals Limited. It is estimated that Wilmar buys over half its palm products from third parties. (5) Wilmar has no systems in place to ensure that suppliers involved in rainforest destruction, like Sinar Mas, are excluded from its supply chain. Palm kernel expeller is then supplied by companies in New Zealand, such as RD1, to Fonterra farms here in New Zealand. (6)

ENDS

(1) Indonesia and Climate Charge: Current Status and Policies. The World Bank. 2007(2) Based on trends from Statistics New Zealand, August 2010.(3) Verifying Greenpeace Claims, Case: PT SMART Tbk, by BSI and Control Union, supported by Professors from Bogor University, 10 August, 2010, http://www.goldenagri.com.sg/pdfs/News%20Releases/2010/IVEX%20Report%20by% 20CUC%20and%20BSI%2010%20Aug%2010.pdf(4) http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2758975/Cadbury-stops-using-palm-oil-in-ch ocolate(5) OCBC Investment Report: Wilmar International Ltd. 23 June 2009. http://www.ocbcresearch.com/pdf_reports/company/Wilmar-090623-OIR.pdf(6) Letter to Greenpeace from John Lea, CEO RD1 2nd September 2010.

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