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Palm Oil Leader Wilmar Bans Deforestation in Sustainability Push

Wilmar International Ltd., the largest palm-oil trader, is pursuing efforts to reduce deforestation and make its products more sustainable.

The company will ensure that its plantations and suppliers protect some forests and abstain from using fire to clear land, Singapore-based Wilmar said today in a statement. It also bans development on high-carbon-stock landscapes including peatlands as part of a larger conservation effort.

“We can produce palm oil in a way that protects forests, clean air and local communities, all while contributing to development and prosperity in palm oil growing regions,” Chief Executive Officer Kuok Khoon Hong said in the statement. “There is a strong and rapidly growing demand for traceable, deforestation-free palm oil, and we intend to meet it as a core element of our growth strategy.”

Wilmar also signed an agreement with Unilever, the second-largest manufacturer of consumer goods, to accelerate the integration of sustainable palm oil into products. Unilever last month said that by the end of 2014, all of its supplies will be traceable to known sources.

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