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The Chain: IOI Group confirms forest and human rights policy

February 4, 2015

IOI Corporation CEO Confirms Forest And Human Rights Policy

On Monday, IOI Corporation (IOI:MK) CEO Dato’ Lee Yeow Chor publicly confirmed that its commitment to source palm oil free of deforestation and human rights abuses applies to both their trading subsidiary IOI Loders Croklaan, as well as their other operations, including directly owned plantations.

While IOI Loders Croklaan had previously said their policy applies to IOI Corporation, the parent company had not yet publicly confirmed that fact, so this announcement addresses that important gap and signals buy-in by from the full IOI Group. IOI’s joint statement statement is available here.

In November 2014, IOI Loders Croklaan—which controls an estimated 10.5% of the global palm oil trade—issued a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation policy for its palm oil supply chain. At the time, IOI Loders Croklaan became the fifth global palm oil trader to commit to zero-deforestation sourcing requirements, following similar policies from Wilmar, GAR, Cargill and Bunge. The company is still developing its full implementation plan.

Institutional Investor Magazine: “Financial Institutions Play Catch-Up in Deforestation Fight”

Institutional Investor Magazine recently featured an article by reporter Katie Gilbert about how the financial sector lags consumer companies and agricultural producers when it comes to tackling deforestation. The article discussed several initiatives to improve the sector’s performance. Excerpt:

“Last year was a big one in the effort to vanquish deforestation. Several major corporations pledge to source soft commodities exclusively from producers that can prove they’re not linked to the destruction of forests, with an emphasis on the good most often blames for driving the problem: beef, palm oil, paper and pulp, and soy. (Such commodities are called soft because they’re grown rather than mined extracted.)

“Between January and September 2014, 19 consumer goods companies – including French food giant Groupe Danone, U.S. cereal producer Kellogg Co., and French cosmetics conglomerate L’Oréal – adopted zero-deforestation policies on palm oil, according CDP, a London-based nonprofit. At the United Nations Climate Summit in September, roughly two dozen national governments and three dozen companies endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests, which pledges to halve the rate of forest loss worldwide by 2020 and halt it by 2030. But financial institutions stand out for their lack of real movement on the issue…

“One bank that many in the space hail as a leader in combating deforestation is BNP Paribas. In late 2010, Paris-based BNP launched a policy prohibiting the financing of any company involved in converting UNESCO World Heritage Sites or high-conservation-value forests into plantations, among other requirements. Elisa Vacherand, the bank’s head of socially responsible investment and financing policies, says such measures exist because management believes “extra-financial risk can become financial.”

Read the full article from Institutional Investor Magazine here.

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