June 14, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth International
BRUSSELS/MONROVIA – European banks, pension funds and private equity funds have given financial assistance worth more than €450 million to Malaysian palm oil giant Sime Darby, responsible for environmental degradation and violations of national regulations in Liberia, according to new research from Friends of the Earth Europe.
An independent impact assessment released today (Monday 24th) by Reading University reveals that Sime Darby operations could lead to a loss of biodiversity, food sources and livelihoods – leading to chronic poverty. There would also be significant environmental impacts with the loss of primary and secondary forest.
Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor, campaigner for Friends of the Earth Liberia said: “Investments in agriculture can benefit the poor, but the reality in Liberia is very different. Farmers are losing their land and livelihoods, the rights of those living in poverty in rural areas are being violated, and the forests on which communities depend are increasingly threatened. I see no guarantees that rural communities will benefit in any meaningful way from investments in palm oil.”
Sime Darby, which receives financial assistance from European banks and pension funds including the Norwegian pension fund, UK-based Schroder investment management and Dutch funds PfZW, has signed a 63-year lease with the government of Liberia for 311,187 hectares to grow palm oil, according to Friends of the Earth Liberia and allies. Continue reading