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Article

12 Dec 2016

Author:
BBC (United-Kingdom)

Palm oil giant Olam accused over sourcing

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Palm oil giant Olam has been accused of using suppliers that may use unsustainable practices in parts of Southeast Asia. The claims against the agricultural commodities trader were made in a report by Mighty... Mighty also accuses Olam and its main stakeholder, Singapore state-owned investment company Temasek, of turning a blind eye to these practices. Both companies reject the allegations. Singapore and Malaysia regularly suffer from haze caused by slash-and-burn practices by small-scale farmers and rogue palm oil traders in Indonesia...Singapore-based Olam has confirmed that it buys 99% of its palm oil from third party suppliers and while it is a relative newcomer to the industry, it says it accounts for less than 1% of the global market. Mighty's report says Olam and Temasek could be unwittingly encouraging unsustainable palm oil trading practices that may contribute to the haze that is caused by the fires. It also says Olam created a "secretive market for rogue palm oil companies" that allowed the vast majority of its product to be bought from unknown sources...But Olam chief executive Sunny Verghese told the BBC that the firm had a "very vigorous sourcing policy and we insist that there is zero tolerance for burning, so it's a 'no burn-no peat-no deforestation' compliance policy". The company only agreed to release the names of its 14 suppliers on Monday, having previously resisted calls by Mighty to do so. Mr Verghese said he believed the firm's current suppliers all met Olam's strict requirements, but added that the vetting and verification process would take several more years to complete. He added that producers who do not comply with the company's sustainable principles would be removed from its supply chain.

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