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Jubilee Statements

Monitoring the impacts of government and corporate behaviour in communities overseas.

Breakthrough: World Bank suspends lending to Palm Oil Companies

Release Date: 22-Sep-2009

NGOs representing the interests of local communities have been fighting for many years to shut down the World Bank's financing of Palm Oil plantations in countries like Indonesia and PNG. Jubilee Australia's 2007 Report, 'Under the Influence', documented the damaging impacts and called for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, to stop supporting Palm Oil projects (see below).
In August, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), an internal watchdog, published a report exposing that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), favoured commercial interests over environmental and human rights concerns in palm oil extraction in Indonesia.

The CAO found that despite being "aware for more than 20 years that there were significant environmental and social issues and risks inherent in the oil palm sector in Indonesia [the] IFC did not develop a strategy for engaging in the oil palm sector. In absence of a tailored strategy, deal making prevailed."

In September, World Bank president Robert Zoellick made a surprise statement, saying "until we have a new strategy in place, the IFC will not approve any new investments in palm oil."

This is a big win for NGOs, including ACF and Jubilee Australia, who have long been calling for the World Bank to get it's act together and take action on Palm Oil.