Will you help us Protect Paradise in 2014?

When I read the daily newspaper here in Indonesia, it’s rare that there is not at least one big scandal or exposé related to the forest sector. Just this last weekend, land conflicts in a Kalimantan palm oil plantation made regional headlines, and the week before that, the dailies in Jakarta exposed new corruption cases in the logging industry. Forests are big business here. And for a country where forests still cover around half of the landmass, there is a lot at stake.

This is where you come in.

Greenpeace supporters in Indonesia and around the world have transformed how we are talking about forest protection, linking a national issue to global corporations, governments and power players. Forest destruction continues to inflame social conflict, drive biodiversity loss and fuel climate change, which is why we will continue putting the heat on those who are responsible.

Here’s a snapshot of where we stand.

Greenpeace South East Asia activists dressed up as tigers holding banners reading: 'Hands off our habitat" and 'Protection or destruction" outside Wilmar International in Jakarta.

Success #1: 2013 ended with a bang, when the world’s largest palm oil trader, Singapore-based Wilmar International, committed to a No Deforestation Policy.

This was a landmark win for forests. To put this into perspective, palm oil is the single biggest cause of deforestation in Indonesia and a growing threat in places like Africa. Wilmar controls over a third of the global palm oil trade. If this policy is properly implemented, we are looking at what could be game changer. Following months of investigations into tiger habitat loss, orangutan “graveyards” and public pressure in Indonesia and globally, we have turned the heat up on other traders and producer such as Sime Darby, KLK and Musim Mas to follow Wilmar’s path.

An assortment of consumer goods showing the wide range of products in which palm oil is an ingredient.

Success #2: Ferrero, Mondelez and Unilever all announced commitments to source palm oil free from deforestation.

While Ferrero, a relatively small player, is ambitious with a 2015 timeline, Mondelez still have some way to go in terms of when they will actually implement the policy. Don’t expect us to take our eyes off them till they achieve what they have set out to do! But one thing is sure: without support from the growing movement demanding clean palm oil, we could not have gotten the best policy possible. See how the companies line up here.

Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo meets with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on board the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior.

Success #3: Political will for forest protection grows.

Not only did Indonesia’s President commit to a moratorium on further deforestation for two more years (for some forests, however this is still pretty good news!), but he actually told the country’s biggest national palm oil association (GAPKI) to “collaborate” with NGOs like Greenpeace to find solutions to deforestation. When President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono joined us on the Rainbow Warrior as it docked in Jakarta, he said similar words, and we can only hope that this sets a precedent for renewed political will to strengthen and enforce forest protection.

What next?

For decades, corporations have pillaged our forests, packaging them up and reducing them down to the value for which they’ll sell on our supermarket shelves. But we know forests are worth more than the dollar sign assigned to them.

It’s time that the products we find on our supermarket shelves don’t destroy tiger habitat, kill orangutans or create a carbon time bomb when peatlands are cleared or razed. We need your support so we can hold companies like Wilmar, Unilever and Nestlé to the strong commitment they’ve made to save our forests, while also pushing those that continue to greenwash and drag their feet to finally become leaders in forest protection – companies that make everyday products such as Heads & Shoulders, Colgate toothpaste and Clearasil, as well as big producers and traders in palm oil like Sime Darby and Musim Mas. Our message is clear: commit to forest protection.

Now the next chapter in forest protection is about to start. Join us now and see where the story goes next.

Bustar Maitar is head of the Indonesia Forest Campaign at Greenpeace International

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