Tokyo, Japan, August 31, 2020 – 35 environmental groups and 19 academics from 15 countries, including Friends of the Earth Japan, sent a letter to 37 major shareholders of H.I.S., asking them to urge H.I.S. to withdraw from their palm oil burning power plant project in Kakuda City, Miaygi Prefecture. These organizations and individuals have long opposed power generation using palm oil as fuel, as it “destroys tropical forests and accelerates climate change”.
In addition to Japan, environmental groups from the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Bosnia Herzegovina, Australia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Belgium, Bolivia, Mozambique, Sweden, and the Czech Republic have signed the letter.
Palm oil has been used mainly for food production, and in recent years oil palm plantations have been expanding rapidly to meet this demand. This has become one of the major causes of the destruction of tropical forests in Indonesia and Malaysia – approximately 3.5 million hectares of tropical forest have been converted to oil palm plantations in the past 20 years. The use of palm oil for power generation will further increase demand and increase pressure on forest development due to the expansion of plantations.
“If demand for palm oil expands, the exploitation of tropical forests and peatlands to develop oil palm farmland will release enormous amounts of CO2. Taking into account the enormous carbon reserves of forests and peatlands, the project burning palm oil as fuel generates far more CO2 than coal-fired power generation,” says Friends of the Earth Japan, an environmental NGO that coordinated the request.
“H.I.S. has focused on eco-tours and study tours of tropical forests in Borneo. Nevertheless, launching such a business that destroys tropical forests and climate will also be a business risk for H.I.S.. We would like shareholders to persuade the company to stop the project from the perspective of ESG investment.”
Friends of the Earth Japan will continue to work to increase international opposition and work to prevent the Feed-in Tariff scheme from being applied to biomass projects that do not reduce greenhouse gas emissions or projects that result in deforestation.
Petition website (Japanese and English)
Rainforest Rescue’s peititon website (English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Dutch):
Reference: What are the problems? Palm oil power generation Q&A (Japanese)
Environmental organizations release joint proposal on biomass power generation (English)