World Rainforest Movement

Industrial oil palm plantations are not and can never be “sustainable”

Letter from organizations to the World Bank on September 21, 2010. International Day on Monoculture Tree Plantations.

In May, 2010 the letter “No more funding for oil palm plantations!“, signed by 108 organizations and more than 16.000 individuals, was sent to the World Bank officials in different occasions, it was given personally on August 31, in Frankfurt during the last round of “consultation“ process for the bank’s strategy on palm oil financing. None of the requests presented by the NGOs and IPOs have been heard.

Thus, in the International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantaitons we request your participation in this new initiative: please send the organization’s signature to the following (below) letter to the World Bank.

The letter will be sent soon and will be also available if you would like to send it to the World Bank representative in your country.

Send your signature (before September 21, 2010) to:

Thank you

Guadalupe Rodríguez

Salva la Selva

Please stop funding the palm oil industry once and for all.

Industrial oil palm plantations are not and never can be sustainable


– Robert Zoellick, World Bank President, Washington D.C.,

– Lars H. Thunell, Executive Vice-Precident and CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC),,

– Susanna Moorehead, UK Executive Director,

– Ian Solomon, US Executive Director,

Dear Mr Zoellick, Mr Thunell, Ms Moorehead, Mr Solomon,

21st September is ‘International Day Against Tree Monocultures’. On this day, we are calling on you to end World Bank funding for the palm oil industry for good. Industrial oil palm plantations are not and never can be sustainable.

The World Bank moratorium on palm oil funding, which was put in place last year, was a step in the right direction, albeit long over-due. The World Bank Draft Framework for Palm Oil, published at the end of July, on the other hand, is a wrong and dangerous move. It does not solve any of the problems and ignores the demands of affected people, amongst them forest-dependent peoples.

The World Bank wrongly assumes that the production of vast quantities of palm oil for the global market can be done ‘sustainably’. In reality, however, vast industrial plantations can be neither enviornmentally nor socially sustainable. Certification, such as the RSPO, cannot solve those problems; instead it is being used by the industry to greenwash ongoing plantation expansion at the expense of rainforests and people.

Palm oil production threatens people and biodiversity in rainforest countries and consumes vast quantities of precious resources – energy, land, fertile soils and freshwater. There is no ‘spare land’ for oil palm expansion that is neither covered in rainforest and other ecosystem nor home to communities. Rainforests and peatswamps continue to be cleared for oil palm plantations and people continue being evicted. Governments continue to grant concessions to palm oil companies while refusing to give land titles to local communities, thus violating their human rights.

Small farmers tend to lose out in the industry-dominated palm oil nbusiness. Far more people lose their livelihoods as a result of plantation expansion than the number of jobs created by the palm oil industry. Smallholders struggle to survive the market and price fluctuations which are dictated by the global market, regardless of government support.

Important ecosystems and biodviersity are being wiped out for oil palm plantations and the water cycle is disrupted. Deforestation leads to more frequent and severe droughts and flooding. Large quanitites of herbicides and pesticides which are used on plantations poison soils and water.

At the same time, the global demand for palm oil continues to be increased – for food, cosmetics and biofuels. Those disastrous developments must be stopped.

In May this year, 108 human rights and environmental organisations worldwide as well as 16,000 individuals wrote to you to demand ‘No more funding for oil palm plantations“. (

Yours faithfully,


Asociación de estudiantes y creadores colombianos en Francia – COLCREA

Campaña Semillas de Identidad, Colombia

Centro Ecologista Renacer, Argentina

Centro tricontinental CETRI, Bélgica

COECOCEIBA-Amigos de la Tierra, Costa Rica

Colectivo Feminista, Ecuador

Colectivo Fusquenlla/ Red Galiza Non Se Vende, España

Consejo Indigena Popular de Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magon CIPO RFM, México

Convergencia de Movimientos de los Pueblos de las Américas COMPA

Ecologistas en Acción, España

Els Verds Esquerra Ecologista del País Valencià

ENLACE Comunicación y Capacitación A.C., México

Grupo Mesófilo A. C. Mexico

Grupo de Trabajo Suiza Colombia, Suiza

Movimiento Mundial por los Bosques WRM, Internacional

Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña OFRANEH, Honduras

Organizacion de los Pueblos Indìgenas de la Amazonía Colombiana OPIAC, Colombia

Otros Mundos AC/Amigos de la Tierra, México

Red Latinoamericana contra los Monocultivos de Arboles RECOMA

Rel-UITA, Uruguay

Rettet den Regenwald, Alemania

Robin Wood, Alemania

Salva la Selva, España

World Rainforest Movement, International