Palm oil is the world’s most popular vegetable oil, but it is also one of main causes of rainforest destruction. When forests are cleared to make way for palm plantations, ecosystems that have taken millions of years to evolve can be destroyed in a matter of days. Demand for palm oil is rising and producers seeking land for new plantations have turned their sights on Papua New Guinea.
Over three quarters of Papua New Guinea is covered by the world’s largest rainforest; home to an extraordinarily diverse population and sheltering more species of flora and fauna than anywhere else on earth. With the inexorable advance of palm plantations, environmental charity Cool Earth believes this rainforest is on the brink of disaster. Which is why it has set up a project on Papua New Guinea’s palm frontier and why Prologis is supporting the project as part of our approach to carbon mitigation.
Cool Earth sets up community-led partnerships, which aim to help villages in the frontline of rainforest destruction build sustainable livelihoods, so that local people benefit more from keeping the forest standing than from clearing it. In Papua New Guinea, Cool Earth is working with three villages – Gadaisu, Godidi and Kaifouna – in Milne Bay province. These villages – with a total population of 316 people, just 67 families – create a shield that will protect millions of acres of pristine rainforest.
Cool Earth aims to achieve zero deforestation in the Milne Bay partnership area and to double community incomes seven years. The project has started well and is making progress, as Wendy Sema who lives in Gadaisu said:
The forest is very important to us. It’s where we find our means and ways of living. If we have no forest, we won’t be surviving. I am very pleased and proud of Cool Earth. Cool Earth will do its best for the community.
Wendy Sema, Gadaisu villager
Cool Earth’s project in Papua New Guinea is part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), a global initiative that was launched in 2015 to support and celebrate the conservation efforts of the Commonwealth countries in protecting their indigenous forests for future generations. Cool Earth is a founding partner of the QCC – along with The Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Forestry Association – and we are delighted to be supporting this invaluable work.