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World’s largest palm oil companies team up with NGOs to save 10,000 orangutans found on non-certified palm oil concessions in Borneo



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13 June 2017, London – A group of some world’s largest Palm Oil companies, including Wilmar, Sime Darby and Musim Mas, together with the Orangutan Land Trust and a number of wildlife conservation experts and NGOs, today announced the launch of the PONGO Alliance, a new initiative aimed at supporting the management of orang-utans and other wildlife in Palm Oil landscapes.

While there is a widespread perception that Palm Oil cultivation is not compatible with wildlife protection, the latest research, conducted by NGO Borneo Futures for the Orangutan Land Trust and Wilmar International, shows that there are ways for the Palm Oil industry and orangutans to coexist.

The Palm Oil companies, members of the PONGO Alliance, acknowledge their responsibility for ensuring that Palm Oil cultivation is done with minimal impact on local biodiversity and commit to promoting the use of sustainable landscape management (so-called ‘landscape approach‘) across the entire island of Borneo. The landscape approach does not look at one particular Palm Oil or other concession but at the ecoregion as a whole because wild animals do not stay within the boundaries of particular concessions, but move across the whole landscape which they consider as their natural habitat.

Ginny Ng Siew Ling, Forest Sustainability Manager with Wilmar International, commented: “The PONGO Alliance’s approach is to engage with all stakeholders on the ground, including Palm Oil companies, local governments and local communities to implement best management practices for the protection of orang-utans and wildlife in the oil palm landscape.”

Orangutans are critically endangered species, whose population have more than halved over the past 50 years due to poaching, illegal logging and intensive agriculture. Today, the largest population of orangutans on the planet lives on the island Borneo, which is shared by three countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

The RSPO certification and companies’ corporate policies of “no deforestation, no cultivation on Peatland and no exploitation” do have a positive impact on the survival of the species, as shown in the latest research done by Borneo Futures, one of the members of the Alliance. However, there are still around 10,000 orangutans living on non-certified Palm Oil concessions who are at risk of extinction if their habitats are not managed properly.  

Dr. Erik Meijaard, an independent researcher at the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (a partnership between five Australian universities) and the founder of Borneo Futures, states: “Our research shows that the collaborative approach at the landscape level can become a game changer for wildlife conservation. The next step now is to scale this up and sit down with all Palm Oil companies having orangutans on their concessions in Borneo to discuss a joint action plan.”

The PONGO Alliance was launched at the annual European conference of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in London on June 13, 2017.

ENDS

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About the PONGO Alliance 

The Palm Oil & NGO (PONGO) Alliance was founded in 2015. The Alliance’s mission is to prevent the extinction of orangutans living on Palm Oil concessions on the island of Borneo. The Alliance will engage with local governments and certified and non-certified Palm Oil companies in Borne to help implement sustainable landscape management (so-called ‘landscape approach‘) on the entire island. A landscape approach is about having all local stakeholders discuss and agree on the ecosystems that need to be excluded from development because of their ecological or cultural value. The PONGO Alliance gathers industry and NGO members, mostly from Palm Oil producing and trading countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – who believe that the best way to achieve tangible results in wildlife conservation is collaboration between all stakeholders on the ground. The current members include:


  • Musim Mas (grower)
  • Wilmar (grower)
  • Sime Darby (grower)
  • PT ANJ Agri (grower)
  • United Plantation Bhd (grower)

  • Borneo Futures
  • Orangutan Information Centre
  • Orangutan Land Trust (NGO)
  • Fauna & Flora International (NGO)
  • HUTAN (Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme) (NGO)
  • SOS (Sumatran Orangutan Society) (NGO)
  • International Animal Rescue (NGO)
  • Borneo Rhino Alliance (NGO)
  • Zoo Copenhagen (zoo)


For media enquiries please contact:

Carolyn Lim 
Corporate Communications,Musim Mas
Holdings, Singapore 
Direct: + (65) 6576 4770
carolyn.lim@musimmas.com 

Maria Linkova-Nijs
Hill+Knowlton Strategies/ PONGO Alliance EU
Communications team
Mobile: +32 497 050912
Maria.Linkova@hkstrategies.com