As agriculture expands, tropical forest losses soar

In September 2015, UN member states set a goal of halting deforestation by 2020 as part of its “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” But according to Frances Seymour, distinguished senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, “we seem to be going in the wrong direction.” Satellite data gathered by the University of Maryland and recently released via Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring platform directed by the WRI, indicate that 2019 was the third highest year for tropical primary forest loss since the turn of the century.

Peatlands, not rainforests, hardest hit in Indonesia fires

Forest fires burned 1.64 million hectares across seven provinces of Indonesia this year, with peatlands accounting for 41 percent of the area lost to flames, said the Center for International Forestry Research on Monday. The figures, based on satellite data, show that only a portion of the the fires could be attributed to direct land-clearing work for palm oil plantations.

U.K. retailer, Citigroup take actions against palm oil

It was a tough week for the multibillion-dollar palm oil industry. A British grocery chain with 900 stores said it would remove all palm oil from its branded products by the end of 2018, and Citigroup announced it would suspend loans to IndoAgri, the agribusiness arm of Indonesia’s largest conglomerate, the Salim Group. No paywall

Indonesian Papua, the new frontier of palm oil plantations

In three months at the end of 2017 and start of this year, some 2,300 hectares (9 square miles) of forest in Indonesian Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea, were cleared, most likely for palm oil plantations, says a new report from the World Resources Institute. Based on …

Commerce Department authorizes anti-dumping duties on imported biodiesel

Biodiesel makers in Argentina and Indonesia should face anti-dumping duties of up to 277 percent on their shipments to the United States, ruled the Commerce Department in a case brought by domestic producers.

Report: Biodiesel driving deforestation and host of other problems at home and abroad

An investigation by activist groups Mighty Earth and ActionAid USA challenges the notion of biodiesel as the environmentally responsible fuel of the future. Burned: Deception, Deforestation and America’s Biodiesel Policy claims that growing demand for biodiesel in the U.S. contributes to a host of problems, from deforestation in Argentina and Indonesia to algae blooms in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone.

Farmers murdered to make way for palm oil

Six indigenous farmers were brutally killed in Peru by land traffickers trying to make way for a palm oil plantation, adding to the more than 120 environmental and land defenders who have been murdered around the world in 2017 alone.

Palm oil’s hidden presence in personal care products prompts reform

Consumers are beginning to recognize the huge environmental costs of palm oil use in the packaged foods industry, but what’s less known is how widely the ingredient is used in everyday products sold by the personal care industry. In FERN’s latest story, “The Makeover,” Jocelyn Zuckerman reports on this industry and its attempts to reform its supply chain in a story produced with Vogue Magazine. (No paywall)

Palm oil industry confronts its human rights problem

In the last decade, consumers across North America and Europe have become increasingly aware of the environmental costs of producing palm oil, now the world’s most widely consumed vegetable oil. The industry’s social problems, however, have remained largely in the dark.