Friday, February 24, 2006

WWF and palm oil industry join forces in Malaysia

Malaysia is going for biodiesel production in a big way. They are building many palm oil plantations and building biodiesel production plants. I have previous coverage here, here, and here.

One issue with Malaysia's plans is they're cutting down their rain forest to build these palm plantations. That, in turn, means new threats to rare species and a reduction of biodiversity. In other words, in the process of solving one environmental problem (environmental degradation from burning fossil fuel) they're creating a different environmental problem (reduced biodiversity).

WWF and palm oil industry join forces covers work by the World Wildlife Foundation to do something in cooperation with the palm oil industry. Through their Forest Conversion Initiative and the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to develop Better Management Practices for the Malaysian oil palm industry to safeguard high conservation value forests (HCVF) in the country.

This sounds nice ... if some action is going to cause an environmental problem, it's nice there's an environmental protection organization they can partner with to mitigate the problem.

But ... in my mind is another thought. I wonder if this partnership is meant to whitewash the problem? Is this partnership only meant to give the appearance of solving the problem? Or is this partnership taking actions which are truly useful?