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Press Release: Friends of the Earth files OECD complaint against Rabobank finance for illegal palm oil

Amsterdam, Brussels, 1st July 2014

Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) and Friends of the Earth Europe have filed a complaint with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development against the Dutch Rabobank. The complaint focuses on multiple loans from Rabobank to the Indonesian palm oil company Bumitama. The company is accused of managing an illegal palm oil plantation and of having caused deforestation, thereby not only violating the sustainability policy of Rabobank but also the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Rabobank has provided around 47 million euros in loans to the company.

In the complaint, Milieudefensie and Friends of the Earth Europe demand that Rabobank terminates its relationship with Bumitama, or freeze credit lines until the palm oil company has solved the problems identified in the complaint. The bank should demonstrate what steps it has taken to ensure that Bumitama adheres to its own policies. In addition, both organizations want more transparency from the bank.

Complaints about Bumitama

Rabobank demands of its customers in the palm oil sector membership of, and compliance with the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Bumitama is known as a company that has repeatedly caused deforestation of protected nature reserves and has been marketing illegally produced palm oil. Since July 2012, five complaints have been filed with the RSPO against the company. The most recent complaint, about the illegal plantation GMS which is managed by Bumitama, was submitted on April 29, 2014 by Friends of Borneo. To date, none of the complaints has been brought to a successful conclusion. Meanwhile, Bumitama has continued to manage the illegal palm oil plantation.

Anne van Schaik of Friends of the Earth Europe: “Rabobank has shown itself pretty naïve on this issue. The bank says it wants to continue pressuring Bumitama to make sustainable choices, but whatever the bank says or does, illegal production of palm oil has continued since 2011.”

The complaint can be found at:

Further information and interviews

Anne van Schaik, Accountable Finance Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe, cel: +31-6-24343968, Email: