Perched atop the remains of the last tree, an orangutan looks helplessly on what was until recently the forest he was living in but is now only ruins. Armed with chainsaws and bulldozers, workers of Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (BGA), a palm oil company, have completely destroyed the rainforest for miles.
Three other half-starved orangutans – a pregnant female and a mother with her child on her back – were also found crawling around the stumps and tree trunks of the cleared rainforest.
“There are more orangutans in the tiny remaining patches of forest in the plantation, along with other protected species such as proboscis monkeys,” explains Adi Irawan of International Animal Rescue Indonesia (IAR). “All of the animals on the plantation are threatened. The company must therefore stop clearing the rainforest immediately.”
This may seem hard to believe, but the palm oil producer BGA has been a member of the RSPO, the label for sustainable palm oil, since 2007. BGA’s customers include IOI, Wilmar and Sinar Mas, companies that sell the palm oil to European food and consumer goods manufacturers and biodiesel producers. Even the EU has recognized the RSPO as a certification system for sustainably produced biofuels.