Palm oil boom: companies must clean up their act in Africa

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From The Guardian:

“The palm oil industry is one of the world’s biggest, projected to be worth $88bn (£70bn) by 2022. While it has pumped billions into the local economies of countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, the aggressive expansion of the industry has also become synonymous with widespread environmental and community destruction.

With global demand increasing, Africa has become the new frontier of industrial palm oil production. As much as 22m hectares (54m acres) of land in west and central Africa could be converted to palm plantations over the next five years.

As the industry sets its sights on Africa, how can we ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated? Is it possible to establish a sustainable palm oil industry that operates in a way that protects environmental and human rights and provides local communities with genuine opportunities?

These questions formed the heart of a seminar discussion, hosted by the Guardian and supported by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), that brought together a panel of experts from civil society and the private sector, chaired by journalist Eliza Anyangwe.”

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