In 2011, the World Bank Group (WBG) adopted a Framework and Strategy for investment in the palm oil sector. The new approach was adopted on the instructions of former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, after a damning audit by International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) semi-independent Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) had shown that IFC staff were financing the palm oil giant, Wilmar, without due diligence and contrary to the IFC’s Performance Standards. Wilmar is the world’s largest palm oil trader, supplying no less than 45% of globally traded palm oil. The audit, carried out in response to a series of detailed complaints from Forest Peoples Programme and partners, vindicated many of our concerns that Wilmar was expanding its operations in Indonesia in violation of legal requirements, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and IFC norms and procedures. Almost immediately after the audit was triggered, IFC divested itself of its numerous other palm oil investments in Southeast Asia.
Following high profile cases of police violence and killings of rural people protesting land grabs, a new alliance of rural people - indigenous peoples, farmers, workers and landless people as well as supportive NGOs - is demanding the repeal of laws which allow the State to expropriate people's lands and resources in favour or large businesses. They are also demanding the passing of new laws that secure the people's rights in land and ensure ecological justice, through agrarian reforms and the recognition of indigenous peoples' rights.