Another perspective on the impact of palm oil

Another perspective on palm oil

Our concern with palm oil tends to focus on the impact on orangutans, in particular on the destruction of their habitat as the industry expands further into the rainforest.  However the impacts go beyond this.  A short film, “Orang Rimba: Happiness lies in the Forest”, released by films4forests, tells the story of a nomadic forest people living in Sumatra, who also have been displaced by palm oil.

Since the advent of President Suharto’s transmigration schemes in the mid-1980s, deforestation in Jambi Province, home of the Orang Rimba, has accelerated massively. Vast oil palm plantations continue to replace natural forest. For the Orang Rimba, every aspect of their life is tied to this forest. Their source of food has been destroyed, their water polluted and their customs and culture ignored.

The filmmaking process attempted to enable a neutral forum for conversation between the geographically isolated Orang Rimba and the palm oil company executives in charge of running this industry from their offices in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.

It was screened to an audience of 500 of the most influential players in the international palm oil trade at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil meeting in November 2007.

To view the film, please visit the films4forests website at

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