Rabobank under fire over Indonesia palm oil investments

Environmental group Milieudefensie has made a formal complaint against Rabobank with the OECD, saying the bank is breaking rules on deforestation.

Milieudefensie says the bank has some €47m invested in Indonesia palm oil company Bumitama which it says operates illegal plantations and is guilty of illegally cutting down forests. This, in turn, is threatening the habitat of orangutans, the organisation says.

Rabobank says it is in talks with Bumitama in an effort to improve its operations but Milieudefensie says this is taking too long. ‘Rabobank has shown itself to be extremely naïve in this and has a blinkered view,’ spokesman Geert Ritsema told the Volkskrant.

Illegal deforestation is not only against Rabobank’s own policy but against OECD agreements on socially responsible business.

If the OECD upholds the complaint, Rabobank could be excluded from taking part in trade missions and from some subsidies, the Volkskrant said.

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