Aug. 14, 2018 – Greenpeace has partnered with actor Emma Thompson to release “Rang-tan”, an animated short film about a little girl and her orangutan friend forced from her forest home. The palm oil industry is a major driver of deforestation in Indonesia. The widespread clearing of rainforests in Indonesia has contributed to habitat loss for wildlife which has had a devastating effect on Indonesia’s orangutan populations, the country’s people, and the global climate.
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“Palm oil is a key ingredient found in products used daily. And this will continue. However, at what cost? Massive deforestation, species extinction, human rights abuses and labor rights violations are all taking place to grow this commodity, “said Greenpeace USA Palm Oil Campaign Diana Ruiz. “Big companies committed to eliminate deforestation from the palm oil they buy by 2020. No one is on track in meeting these commitments and deforestation is not slowing down. Companies need to fix the problem they created and ensure that the palm oil they use in sweets and snacks we eat aren’t made at the greatest cost of our forests, wildlife and our climate.”
Indonesia has more threatened and endangered species than any other country. The Bornean orangutan population has more than halved in the past 16 years, and Indonesia has lost an area nearly the size of the United Kingdom in the past twenty years. This habitat and species loss is directly linked to the rise of the palm oil industry and its expansion into rainforests and peatlands.
“When Greenpeace asked me to narrate Rang-tan, I didn’t hesitate. For too long big brands have been getting away with murder,” Emma Thompson said. “And for too long our response to orangutans has been ‘ohhh, poor thing’ as we’re shown photographs of them orphaned and at death’s door. But change is possible – we can make it so. By making a noise, demanding answers and forcing change, we can stop feeling sorry. Instead, we can feel exhilarated as we witness these iconic beasts living truly wild once more. If we accomplish that, believe me, we will all be much better off.”
A recent Greenpeace investigation revealed that the world’s largest palm oil trader that supplies palm oil to global consumer companies, Wilmar International, is still linked to forest destruction for palm oil despite Wilmar’s commitment five years ago to end deforestation. An area twice the size of Paris has been destroyed by Gama, a palm oil business run by senior Wilmar executives and members of their family. Photos and video taken by Greenpeace International on a recent flyover show active deforestation in two Gama concessions in Papua, Indonesia.
Greenpeace is calling on viewers of “Rang-tan” to pressure some of the world’s top brands, including Nestle, Unilever and Mondelez, to stop using palm oil from rainforest destroyers. Palm oil production should not come at the cost of wiping out the homes of critically endangered species, human rights abuses and labor rights violations and threatening our climate.