Palm oil: 'green image' or 'green washing'?

comments     Christopher Yogaswaran     Published     Updated

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Palm oil struggles to promote 'green' image .

While Malaysia is enjoying the success of palm oil as a commodity, I would like to ask if this has been a result of sustainable development by the Agriculture Ministry and others that are relevant.

1. What is the percentage of rainforests that have currently been turned into palm oil estates?

2. If it has not been all rainforests, then what was the type of land that had been converted to palm oil estates?

3. For rainforest land that was lost to palm oil estates, had there been any form of Initial Environment Review or Environmental Impact Assessment report carried out?

4. When clearing the rainforests for the palm oil estates, what type of procedure were taken to ensure that no native people and animals were disrupted from continuing in their normal habitation?

5. Is there no information as to the amount of increase or decrease for a certain species of plant, animal or any other living bodies that have be affected due to the conversion of rainforests to palm oil estates?

6. How was the land clearing process carried out? Any use of heavy machineries?

7. Was there any habitation replacement programme carried out for the affected parties, be it the aborigines, animals or even special vegetation? How was it funded and who funded it?

8. Was there any data on carbon emitted during the clearing process?

9. What was the carbon emission during the clearing stage offset? In which phase was the offset?

10. What is the comparison between a hectare of a rainforest against the palm oil estates in terms of the CO2 absorption rate and Ccrbon emission rate?

11. If the difference is known, what are the counter measures for redemption of CO2 absorption and carbon emission?

Claiming sustainable development is not an easy task and insufficient of work to justify it would lead to what we call as ‘green washing’. The list above is just a simple list of a few of the points that need to be looked into before claiming that something is being sustainably developed. It must be noted that there are many phases of consideration and the above is just for the pre- development stage.

To understand the context of claiming something to be sustainably developed, it must clearly defined and understood in the meaning of sustainable development.

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