The company, like many others in the sector, is aggressively expanding to take advantage of rising demand – and Yeow says that is good for people and the economy. “We kill the competition,” he says.
But the industry also has a reputation for killing natural forests and, in the process, the animals that depend on them. As non-profit groups like Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) have raised awareness about the impact the industry is having on the environment, company executives say they are feeling the pressure to adopt better business practices.
“The pressure on the palm oil industry, Cargill feels that,” says John Hartmann, the chief operating officer at Cargill Tropical Palm Holdings in Singapore. “Cargill is a major player in vegetable oils and so we have a responsibility also to prove our sustainability credentials.”
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