Cargill gives international journalists unique access to palm plantation

April 23, 2013

In late March, Cargill Tropical Palm hosted more than 20 international journalists at its Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified Hindoli oil palm plantation, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, making it the first plantation in the industry to host such a large-scale media tour.

Journalists from publications including The Wall Street Journal Asia, The Straits Times of Singapore, Bloomberg and Businessweek participated in the tour.

The Cargill business opened its doors to demonstrate for the media and the public how Cargill is producing palm oil ethically and sustainably. The business gave the journalists a first-hand glimpse of its sustainable practices, engagement with smallholders, and its focus on employee safety and well-being.

“We wanted to help the public understand that palm oil can indeed be produced in a manner which respects communities and the environment,” said John Hartmann, chief operating officer of Cargill Tropical Palm. “Palm oil is one of the most efficient oil seeds and uses less land than other alternatives. It has 10 times the yield efficiency of some competitor oils, and a single planting can be harvested year-round for more than 20 years.”

The journalists also were able to witness some of Cargill’s environmental policies in practice. It is Cargill’s policy to not develop new plantations in areas of high conservation value. The company also has a strict no-burn policy and a no deep peat land development policy. It works to retain conservation areas around its plantations.

“The palm oil industry has been criticized for the activities of some parties. We felt that we needed to provide a balanced perspective by highlighting how palm oil production, when done the right way, can drastically improve the living standards of local farmers and provide them with long-term stability and certainty against poverty,” said Hartmann.