Deutsche Bank boosts rainforest logging

Destructed rainforest The Deutsche Bank is looking for investors for further deforestation. Instead of species-rich rainforest more palm oil monocultures are planned in Indonesia and Africa
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End of campaign: May 20, 2014

Landgrabbing and the destruction of rainforests – that's business as usual for the world's largest palm oil company FELDA. Now it is going public and has teamed up with one of Germany's biggest banks for business. Please ask the Deutsche Bank to immediately dissociate itself from this large-scale logging

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„The Deutsche Bank is helping FELDA to take away our land and to cut down the rainforest“, says Mazlan Aliman. The courageous farmer is the spokesman of the Malaysian opposition. His cooperative disapproves of palm oil giant FELDA's stock market flotation that is planned for 28 June 2012. The money pouring in is going to be used for the large-scale clearance of rainforest.  

The Malaysian company FELDA Global Ventures Holding wants to raise three billion dollars for new palm oil plantation on the stock market. One of Germany's largest banks, the Deutsche Bank, is helping to search for investors. FELDA is the world's largest palm oil trader, the third largest owner of palm oil plantations and a leading sugar producer. 

Money for rainforest destruction and votes 

FELDA has announced to use the money from the stock market to go on a shopping spree. Especially Indonesia and Africa are at the center of its focus. Rainforest areas are going to be bought, destroyed and turned into huge monocultures. 

Moreover, there is reason for suspicion that the stock market money is about to be used to buy votes for the upcoming elections. Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak has promised each company's member 5000 Dollars from the flotation. The prime minister's party and the FELDA staff are heavily intertwined.

Deutsche Bank supports logging and land grabbing 

Deutsche Bank is calling its approach ecologically and socially harmless. Mazlan Aliman and his fellow protesters take a different point of view: In their opinion FELDA's stock market flotation infringes their rights and amounts to a forced conversion.  

Please ask the Deutsche Bank to dissociate itself from FELDA and to refrain from any more land grabbing or logging.

Back­ground

Mazlan and the peasant members of the National Settlers' Children Association ANAK are remaining defiant right until the last day, trying to stop FELDA going public. The association has formed itself from the opposition against FELDA's flotation. Previously their opinion was ignored and leading personnel that voiced concern was replaced. 

Oil palms grow best in the tropics. Here, more and more old-growth forests are cut down to make way for oil palm monocultures. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature IUCN oil palm plantations pose the most serious threat for the rainforest. 

For Felda logging is part of the business

Felda has a lot to answer for. Since its foundation in 1956 the principal business of the Malaysian company is characterized by the cultivation of the oil palm. Shortly after its foundation, 850.000 hectares of primary forest were destroyed by FELDA. 

In Indonesia FELDA is aiming to expand its business. However, should the destruction on the Indonesian islands continue at its current rate, the last rainforest with its remaining orangutans is estimated to disappear in 2020.

Palm oil and land grabbing belong together

In Africa, the company is planning to buy land for huge new plantations. Often the local peasants are driven out from their land. Dealing with land here is often disputable, sometimes illegal – and is often termed as land grabbing.

The national Malaysian elite and the company have strong ties with each other. A very clear example is Mr. Isa Samad. He is the director of the future open corporation. At the same time the government has appointed him as the chairman of the peasant cooperative KFP (Koperasi Permodalan Felda – cooperative for the capitalization of FELDA) in the run-up to the flotation. He is also the former vice president of the ruling party UMNO and was removed from this position by his own party for six years due to corruption in 2005. 

Deutsche Bank supports RSPO greenwash

The Deutsche Bank has stated that FELDA has committed itself to the acquisition of RSPO certification for future land investments. The bank therefore believes rainforest destruction to be totally impossible. However, Rainforest Rescue has been pointing out problems with RSPO certificates for years. In a joint declaration with 256 other organisations we have rejected the RSPO as greenwashing and false labelling. Huge monocultures can never be sustainable.

Letter

To the chairmen of the board of management of the Deutsche Bank

Dear Mr. Jain, dear Mr. Fitschen,

I am writing to you because I am outraged by a current enterprise of the Deutsche Bank. Through the media you have just announced that you are going to re-shape your bank's approach towards more sustainability.

However, your support for the world's largest palm oil trader speaks a different language. On 28 June 2012 FELDA Global Ventures Holding is going public at the Malaysian stock market. Your financial institute is part of the underwriting syndicate. FELDA is one of the world's largest producers of palm oil and its most important trader. Actions in the past have made clear that the corporation respects neither social rights nor the conservation of tropical rainforest.

I strongly object to your commitment to FELDA for the following reasons: The stock market money is going to be used to buy huge land areas in Indonesia and Africa, planning to turn them into palm oil plantations. In order to do so, rainforest is going to be cut down. Since its formation FELDA has destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of rainforest in favour of palm oil plantations.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature IUCN calls palm oil plantations the biggest threat to Indonesia's rainforest. Should the logging continue at its current rate, all remaining rainforest areas are predicted to be lost by 2020.

With your commitment to FELDA your financial institute is partly responsible for the consequences of the company's actions. I am not only thinking about the serious effects on the global climate but also about the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity of unmatched value.

In Africa problems due to land grabbing have been on the rise in recent years. When FELDA starts its search for new plantation land in the forseeable future, this is inevitably going to come along with a threat to peasants as well as the destruction of rainforest.

Hereby I demand that you let your words become actions and that you dissociate yourself from your commitment to FELDA. For the future, I expect your institute to thoroughly analyze possible dealings in respect of their ecological and social impact. In cases such as the present, the deal should not be made due to the grave implications for nature and the climate.

Yours faithfully

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