Clearing and draining of peatland for oil palm in Central Kalimantan in May 2009

Swiss banks, Credit Suisse and UBS, together with the French BNP Paribas, are helping Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources raise up to 280 million Swiss francs ($258 million) to finance conversion of large areas of rainforest in New Guinea and Borneo for oil palm plantations, reports the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), a group that campaigns on behalf of forest people in Southeast Asia.

The deal would finance expansion of plantations operated by Sinar Mas, a subsidiary of Golden Agri-Resources. A recent report from Greenpeace Indonesia says that Sinar Mas plans to convert up to 2.8 million hectares of forest for new plantations in the Indonesian provinces of Kalimantan and Papua.

"The vast majority of future expansion is likely to involve deforestation, some on peatlands and in the habitats of the critically endangered orangutan", said Greenpeace in the report. …

Credit Suisse, UBS, BNP Paribas to help finance cutting of rainforests for palm oil, say NGOs

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