Unilever undeniably linked to removal of Bornean orangutan habitat

(foresthints.news) - By recently disclosing its suppliers and mills this month (Feb 16), Unilever - the first consumer goods company to take this action in the name of greater transparency regarding its supply chains - has actually confirmed its links with the ongoing removal of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat.

In this case, the company PT BHD is found on the list of suppliers and mills released by Unilever. This company remains closely associated with another company, PT PSM, which continues to aggressively eradicate the habitat of the Bornean orangutan in order to develop new palm oil plantations in Indonesian West Kalimantan’s Ketapang regency.

Meanwhile, large-scale suppliers such as Wilmar, Apical, Cargill and IOI - whose supply chains are also linked to PT BHD - are suppliers of Unilever as well. As such, Unilever’s supply chains, both directly and indirectly, are connected to the continuing elimination of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat.

The close association between PT PSM and PT BHD was recently exposed by AidEnvironment Asia after conducting a legal verification process. Furthermore, foresthints.news also performed a similar investigation which produced the same verification results as those of AidEnvironment Asia.

These findings present Unilever with its first test as to how the consumer goods giant will be able to rid itself of those supply chains which, either directly or indirectly, are linked to the ongoing loss of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat.

As previously reported by foresthints.news (Jan 11), AidEnvironment Asia shared the following photos, taken in November last year, showing how the habitat of the Bornean orangutan in PT PSM’s palm oil concession is being destroyed. This destruction, it turns out, is linked to Unilever’s supply chains both directly and indirectly.

Radical step?

Unilever sought to portray the disclosure of its suppliers and mills to public access for the sake of palm oil supply chain transparency as a ‘radical step’.

However, what would truly represent a radical step is if Unilever decides to cut off its supply chains involving companies still engaged with clearing the habitat of the Bornean orangutan, including and especially the PT PSM palm oil concession.

On the other hand, if the removal of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat at PT PSM continues while Unilever keeps sourcing from PT BHD, as well as from WilmarApicalCargill and IOI, the ‘radical step’ declared by Unilever is merely an example of greenwashing and a grossly misleading statement.

In this event, Unilever would be retaining supply chains still inherently associated with the clearing of relatively intact forests which are home to the Bornean orangutan, significant parts of which are spread across the PT PSM palm oil concession, as demonstrated in the photos below.

Contrasting milestones

Unilever considers that disclosing the suppliers and mills from which it sources, both directly and indirectly, “marks a major milestone in its continued drive for a more sustainable palm oil industry.”

However, after studying the list of suppliers and mills published by Unilever, it is quite clear that this British-Dutch transnational company is making a huge profit from deforestation and peat destruction in Indonesia.

Accordingly, Unilever’s effort at transparency concerning its suppliers and mills should also be seen as a milestone in comprehensively revealing just how many millions of hectares of land are subject to deforestation and peat destruction in Indonesia purely to serve business interests - actions which are causing the loss of both the Sumatran and Bornean orangutans’ habitat.

To shed light on these destructive practices, the foresthints.news spatial team plans to publish a series of news reports, this being the first, exposing the recent and ongoing links of Unilever’s supply chains to deforestation and peat destruction in Indonesia.