Two key Wilmar executives step down

by Eric Schroeder
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SINGAPORE — Two key executives of Wilmar International have resigned from the company after an investigation by Greenpeace exposed links to deforestation.

Martua Sitorus, co-founder, and Hendri Saksti, head of Indonesia, stepped down from the world’s largest palm oil trading company on July 3. The announcement came about a week after environmental group Greenpeace issued a report exposing the executives’ links to Gama Plantation, a related palm oil business that Greenpeace claims has been responsible for massive deforestation in Indonesia.

In its report, Greenpeace said Wilmar adopted a “no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation” (NDPE) policy in December 2013, but Gama, which is managed by some of the same executives, has no such policy. According to Greenpeace, Gama has cleared more than 21,500 hectares of forests and peatlands since Wilmar announced its NDPE policy.

“This shows that Wilmar is determined to blame someone else for its failings,” said Kiki Taufik, global head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia forests campaign. “This is not just about Gama or Martua Sitorus. It’s about Wilmar’s refusal to do what it takes to keep forest destroyers out of its supply chain. If Wilmar is serious about reform, the first step is to prove its palm oil suppliers are clean by making them publish maps of all their concessions.”

Greenpeace is calling on brands and traders to suspend business with Wilmar until it has addressed the violations of its NDPE policy, starting by publishing concession maps for all producer groups within its supply chain.

Sitorus founded Wilmar in 1991 along with his business partner, Kuok Khoon Hong. In addition to Wilmar, Hong and Sitorus have collaborated on a number of other investments.

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