Page 1

The Palm Pattern A CONTROVERSIAL PRODUCTION

1


Index Premise 01 The controversy 1.1 Palm oil data 1.2 Environmental consequences 1.3 Uses and consumption 1.4 Analysis of trends 1.5 Project question

8 9 9 10 11

02 Research protocol 2.1 Corpus construction 2.2 Geolocalization 2.3 Mapping the controversy 2.4 Network map 2.6 Semantic analysis 2.7 Protocol resume

14 17 18 19 21 24

03 Controversy by actors

Politecnico di Milano Density Design 8.0 Docenti: Paolo Ciuccarelli Stefano Mandato Donato Ricci Tommaso Venturini Salvatore Zingale Gruppo 09: Irene Cantoni Claudio Cardamone Sara De Donno Fabio Matteo Dozio Arianna Pirola

2

3.1.1 Companies - Network 3.1.2 Companies - Word 3.2.1 Environmentalist - Network 3.2.2 Environmentalist - Word 3.3.1 Consumers - Network 3.3.2 Consumers - Words 3.4.1 Authorities - Network 3.4.2 Authorities - Words 3.5.1 Social and economics organizations - Network 3.5.2 Social and economics organizations - Words 3.6.1 Press - Network 3.6.2 Press - Words 3.7.1 Science and universities - Network 3.7.2 Science and universities - Words 3.8.1 Zoos - Network 3.8.2 Zoos - Words

28 31 32 35 36 39 40 43 44 47 48 51 52 55 56 59

04 Links meaning 4.1 Case study: Cargill

62

05 Resume 5.1 Actors resume 5.2 Topics resume 5.3 Links resume

68 70 72

Conclusion 3


Premise Monocultures and biodiversity loss Intensive land exploitation, which is particularly exerted by big corporations, transforms rainforests into monocultures. The cultivated species, which is often non-native, is the only that can eventually grow and this leads to the die out of many animal species. Soy monoculture and cattle breeding are the major causes of the biodiversity crisis in Brazil, which is known as the most biodiverse country. The Amazon Rainforest is being destroyed to intensively cultivate soy which is mainly used as cattle feed. Public controversies around soy and meat consumption involve many different and huge topics, ranging from global starvation to vegetarianism. For this reason, we decided to analyze a restricted but similar controversy. We focused on palm oil monoculture, which is the main cause of deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia and the other Sunda Islands. This complex topic is very similar to the brazilian one because in both areas the loss of biodiversity, due to rainforest destruction, is caused by the same big companies. These actors manage often to hide from their consumers the bad consequences of their production processes.


01 The controversy

6

7


1.1 Palm oil data

1.2 Environmental consequences

About palm oil

Sumatra 1985 - 2010

The oil palm plant (Elaeis guineensis) is native to Africa and grows in tropical areas. It was originally imported by english colonizers to Malaysia around 1910 and its cultivation was spread in the Sumatra-Java-Borneo archipelago. This area is very biodiverse and probably it holds 15% of the known species on Earth, including some of the endangered ones, as orangutans. Malaysia and Indonesia are

accounted for covering nowadays 80% of global palm oil production. The production has been growing quickly in Indonesia, while it’s keeping quite stable in Malaysia. This has resulted both in a higher deforestation rate and, according to Greenpeace, the country is ranked the third for GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions. Because of global demand steadily increasing, palm oil production is also being

moved to Africa, specially to those countries nearby Guinea Gulf. This area hosts habitats where gorillas and chimpanzees live. These two, along with orangutans and humans represent the four hominid species left on the Earth. Therefore we can say that pam oil is actually one of the main threat to hominid survival.

Palm oil production

Palm oil production areas

Borneo 1985 - 2010

World

Indonesia

Forest

Forest

Deforested area

Deforested area

Malaysia

(million Metric Ton)

50 40

1.3 Uses and consumption

30 20 10

Major users of palm oil

Most biodiverse areas 1995

2000

2005

Palm oil uses

2010 2010

2005

2000

1995

15 - 30 mln MT < 2 mln MT

8

(million MT) 6.5

2012 production (million Metric Ton) 28,000 18,500

Malaysia Thailand Colombia Nigeria

1,700 960 850

Papua New Guinea

530

Ecuador

505

Cote d’Hivoire

8

6

Annual growth rate

Indonesia

300

Thailand

9,96%

Indonesia Philippines

Malaysia

5.2

4

5,26% 4,92%

Papua New Guinea

Ecuador

6.0

8,11%

Colombia Perù

6.3

2.2 2

3,92% 2,50% 1,64% 1,00%

India

China

E.U. Indonesia Malaysia

Palm oil has several features that make it an advantageous choice in a competitive environment: it can be used for several purposes, it is easily refined, palm plants offer a very low ratio of wasted material and its cultivation takes place in the third-world countries, where manpower is very cheap. It is used for the 70% in food products, such as cookies, chips, chocolates, baked goods and such; the remaining part can be found in cosmetics, soaps, cleaning agents and body care products. Although being used in relevant quantities, palm oil is often not specified directly on products labels. On the contrary it falls under the vague nomenclature of “vegetable oil”, which makes it impossible to recognize at a first glance. Another thing worth mentioning is that there is not a general consensus about palm oil being healthy. Some even claim that it is highly noxious for

man, as it contains highly saturated fats likely to induce severe deseases. To sum it up, intensive palm oil cultivation is modifying habitats and landscapes at a very fast pace, affecting the economy and culture of hosting countries. Meanwhile it is a distinctive mark of Western capitalist system, as it is contained in about 50% of packed products. All these features concur to make palm oil-related topics highly controversial, either debated by the scientific community and discussed by common people.

9


1.4 Analysis of trends Interest by time

“Palm oil” We used the “Google Trends” tool (http://www.google.com/trends) in order to understand whether and how much the palm oil debate has been active lately. Some interesting results are already visible by just querying “palm oil”: at a first glance, no correlation between production increase and interest in the topic appears, as the Trends curve just shows some up and downs corresponding to certain events (mainly environmental campaigns) but isn’t really moving upwards as an increasing trend. Another noteworthy fact is how influential

the Greenpeace NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) has been on the issue. The two outstanding peaks displayed in the curve correspond to a double inquiry on a partnership between Unilever and Nestlè with World’s second largest palm oil producer, the Indonesia-based multinational Sinar Mas. This company has been accused of being the direct responsible for the loss of large forest chunks. Moreover, the istogras below displays two more anomalies worth mentioning. The first one regards the sudden explo-

sion in 2012 of “palm oil” queries from english-speaking Countries in Africaa trustworthy sign about what’s happening there; the second lies in the very low number of queries from indonesian users, opposed to the highest number coming from Malaysia. Although this may be attributed to causes concerning language (Malaysia was colonized by England, Indonesia by Netherlands), it still displays how little Indonesian people are interested, or perhaps awekened, to the topic.

a.

“Palm oil” “Sawit” “Huile de palme” “RSPO”

b.

100

80

60

d.

40

Palm oil, interest by countries (as of Jan, 3rd 2012)

“Sawit” and “Huile de palme”

Malaysia

100*

Cameroon

88

Nigeria

70

Ghana

59

Singapore

30

Indonesia

14

Bangladesh

12

Kenya

12

Sri Lanka

12

Australia

9

Afterwards, we proceeded to query “kelapa sawit” (both malaysian and indonesian translation for “palm oil”) with Trends. In this case, research volume was growing, almost matching “palm oil” results in the last two years. Despite this curve peaks were never associated directly to any of the news about corporations mentioned above. In third place, huile de palme (french translation) was typed, believing that a large feedback of results would have been given by francophone african Countries involved in palm oil production. We got the highest amount of research from France instead, due to french Senate having approved on Nov, 12th 2012 a law which greatly increased taxation of palm oil products because of “negative effects on human health” (Nutella tax).

RSPO

RSPO, interest by countries (as of Jan, 3rd 2012)

Lastly, we queried “RSPO”, acronym for Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which is a no-profit international association that grants palm oil sustainability. RSPO has been criticized by environmentalists for applying certification marks (called “greenpalm”) based on criteria that they judge too weak and just driven by corporational interests. Although the Roundtable was originally founded to provide a relationship with consumers, we discovered that RSPO is exclusively queried (and not even in appreciable volume) in the Countries hosting palm fields and factories. This in fact conflicts with its proclaimed purpose and feeds doubts about its reliability.

Malaysia

10

100*

Indonesia

79

Netherlands

13

U.K.

9

Germany

7

France

6

U.S.A.

c. 20

2005

a. Palm oil protests target Unilever sites

2006

2007

2008

b. Nestlè drops indonesian palm oil suppliers

2009

2010

c. Nestlè forsakes a producer challenged by Greenpeace

2011

2012

d. French Senate adopts the “Nutella tax”

1.5 Project question The preliminar analysis in this section underlines the controversial nature of palm oil-related topics: knowledge about them strongly varies from location to location with Third World showing little awareness. However public debate shows quite active, both in scientific papers and on the Web. It also seems to involve organizations with opposite points of views; Web acts as a box of resonance for their voice, but at the same time offers the opportunity to unveil relations, intricacies and, arguably, purposes.

Which are the dynamics in the debate about palm oil sustainability?

This is where our report starts to shape.

3 *results are normalyzed in relation to the greatest value (100).

11


02 Research Protocol

12

13


2.1 Corpus construction Queries

Corpus by actors

After the Trends research, we proceeded to build our Corpus of sites. We opted to use a varied array of terms to be queried, two of them being quite general while the others being more focused, with the purpose of involving all the actors thought to have a role in the controversy. For each query only the first most relevant pages have been kept and, after some cleaning, we got a total of 208 pages, then divided into macro-categories accordingly to the actors they belong to.

<

50 pages

“Palm oil sustainability”

<

50 pages

“Palm oil biodiversity”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil deforestation”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil threat”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil rainforest”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil label”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil biofuel”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil free”

<

20 pages

<

“Palm oil”

<

240 pages

<

minus “spam” (ads, social networks, unrelated content..)

Companies & certificators http://mpoc.org.bd/?p=885 http://www.avoncompany.com/corporatecitizenship/corporateresponsibility/sustainability/helpingenddeforestation/avon-palm-oil-promise.html http://olamonline.com/sustainability/palm-policy http://www.cargill.com/corporate-responsibility/pov/palm-oil/sustainable-production/index.jsp http://www.cargill.com/corporate-responsibility/responsible-supply-chains/conserving-forests-biodiversity/index.jsp http://www.bunge.com/citizenship/sus_palm_oil.html http://www.pg.com/en_US/sustainability/point_of_view/palm_oil.shtml http://www.pgchemicals.com/case-studies/responsible-and-sustainable-sourcingpalm-oil/ http://www.nbpol.com.pg/ http://www.goldenagri.com.sg/sustainability_report.php http://www.seventhgeneration.com/sustainable-palm-oil http://www.nestle.com/media/statements/pages/update-on-deforestation-andpalm-oil.aspx#.ULPETOMSXBc http://greenpalm.org/en/about-palm-oil/what-is-palm-oil http://www.greenpalm.org/en/about-palm-oil/what-is-sustainable-palm-oil http://www.greenpalm.org/ http://portal.fedepalma.org//oil_palm.htm http://www.americanpalmoil.com/ http://www.americanpalmoil.com/benefits.html http://www.brambleberry.com/Palm-Oil-P3210.aspx http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/responsibility/palm-oil/ http://www.ecostore.co.nz/pages/palm-oil http://www.epoil.co.uk/ http://www.facesofpalmoil.org/ http://www.palmoileu.com/ http://www.poram.org.my/ http://www.rspo.org/ http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/red_palm_oil.htm http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/category/food-oils-natural-red-palm-oil. php http://www.mpoc.org.my/ http://theoilpalm.org/ http://theoilpalm.org/importance-for-sustainability/ http://www.blommer.com/csr_palm_oil_statement.html http://www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/sustainablesourcing/palmoil/ http://www.beebeauty.com/palm-oil http://www.orangepower.com.au/palm-oil-free/ http://www.palmoilfreesoap.com/ http://www.nestle.com/media/statements/pages/update-on-deforestation-andpalm-oil.aspx#.ULPETOMSXBc http://www.agrimoney.com/news/rainforest-fears-slow-indonesias-palm-oilgrowth--2791.html

208 pages Environmentalists http://wwf.panda.org/?196732/Palm-oil-meet-underscores-sustainability-pledges http://wwf.panda.org/who_we_are/wwf_offices/papua_new_guinea/?204355/ Poor-environmental-performance-seen-as-risk-in-palm-oil-investment http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=5879 http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/palm_oil/environmental_impacts/biodversity_loss http://www.wwf.org.my/?13940/Sustainable-palm-oil-is-good-for-business--WWFstudy http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/forests/palm_oil/ palm_oil_and_deforestation/ http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_forests/deforestation/forest_conversion_agriculture/orang_utans_palm_oil/ http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/palm_oil/ http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/forests/palm_oil/ http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/safeguarding_the_natural_world/forests/

14

forest_conversion/how_clean_is_our_palm_oil_.cfm http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/borneo_forests/borneo_deforestation/ http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/forests/palm_oil/ fact_sheet/ http://ran.org/palm-oil http://understory.ran.org/2011/06/22/what-is-sustainable-palm-oil-part-one-of-athree-part-series/ http://understory.ran.org/2011/09/22/palm-oils-dirty-secret-the-many-ingredientnames-for-palm-oil-or-what-ingredients-contain-palm-oil/ http://a-z-animals.com/palm-oil/information/ http://a-z-animals.com/palm-oil/products/ http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/forests/palm-oil http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/kitkat/ http://www.palmoilaction.org.au/environmental-impacts-of-deforestation.html http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/forests/palm-oil http://www.orangutanrepublik.org/become-aware/issues/orangutans-a-wildlife/ threats-to-orangutans-mainmenu-5 http://www.orangutan.org.au/palm-oil http://www.orangutan.org.au/orangutan-threats http://www.orangutans.com.au/Orangutans-Survival-Information/About-Palm-Oil. aspx http://www.orangutans.com.au/orangutans-survival-information/helping-you-buyresponsibly-palm-oil-free-alternatives.aspx http://www.orangutans-sos.org/campaigns/palm_oil_and_biofuels http://www.palmoilaction.org.au/ http://www.palmoilaction.org.au/shopping-guide.html http://www.deforestationwatch.org/index.php?m=home http://palmoilfree.planetark.org/about/labelling.cfm http://palmoilfree.planetark.org/ http://www.rainforest-rescue.org/topics/palm-oil http://www.rainforestrescue.org.au/ourprojects/orangutan-v-palmoil.html http://www.regnskog.no/languages/english/norway-palm-oil-consumptionreduced-by-two-thirds http://www.fauna-flora.org/biodiversity-and-palm-oil-a-pressing-issue/ http://www.born-to-be-wild.org/ http://forestnewscompilation.blogspot.it/2010/03/palm-oil-threats-deforestationand-peat.html http://www.savethegibbon.org/the-problem/threa

Consumers http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/commentanalysis/environment/sustainablepalmoil.aspx http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/shoppingethically/palmoilfreelist.aspx http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/ http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/palm-oil.php http://www.care2.com/causes/palm-oil-a-rainforests-most-dangerous-commodity. html http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-stop-buying-palm-oil-and-help-savethe-orangutans.html http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/label-palm-oil/ http://www.kidsagainstpalmoil.org/index.html http://www.lifewithoutpalmoil.org/ http://eco-label.org.uk/further_info/rspo/palm_oil_news.html http://freeofpalmoil.blogspot.it/ http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/guide-vegan-products-and-palm-oil/ http://frugalkiwi.co.nz/2011/11/soapmaking-palm-oil-free-shampoo-bars/ http://www.wrinklypepper.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id =117&Itemid=75 http://nopalmoil.wordpress.com/ http://lavieverte.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/whats-behind-the-sustainable-palmoil-label/ http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/label-palm-oil.html

Authorities http://greencommodities.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1 66:indonesia-sustainable-palm-oil-initiative&catid=9:projects&Itemid=65 http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/deforestation/ http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/T0309E/T0309E01.htm http://www.fao.org/es/esc/en/15/120/124/highlight_629.html http://www.palmoilworld.org/biodiesel.html http://www.mpob.gov.my/ http://na.unep.net/geas/getUNEPPageWithArticleIDScript.php?article_id=73

Social & economic organization http://www.ceopalmoil.com/2010/05/sustainability-new-market-for-certifiedsustainable-oils-and-fats-2/ http://www.ceopalmoil.com/2009/02/sustainability-of-palm-oil-productionrevisited/ http://www.ceopalmoil.com/2010/11/how-will-sustainable-production-of-palmoil-contibute-to-reduced-global-warming/ http://linkingsustainability.com/2012/02/02/migros-palm-oil-sustainability-casestudy/ http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/feature/2029238/palm-oil-firms-createsustainable-future http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6059 http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6082 http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15781 http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/agriculture/crops/palm-oil http://www.die-gdi.de/CMS-Homepage/openwebcms3_e.nsf/(ynDK_contentByKey)/JSAS-8LVEVS?OpenDocument&nav=expand:Research%20and%20Consu lting%5CProjects;active:Research%20and%20Consulting%5CProjects%5CJSAS8LVEVS http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/agriculture/crops/palm-oil http://www.eco-business.com/news/aussie-govt-to-oppose-palm-oil-labelling-bill/ http://www.soyatech.com/Palm_Oil_Facts.htm http://www.palmoilhq.com/ http://www.palmoilhealth.org/ http://www.friendsofpalmoil.com/ http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/palm-oil-biofuel.html http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/04/epa-underestimates-emissions-palmbased-biofuels/ http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/08/unilever-reaches-sustainable-palm-oilgoal-three-years-early/ https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2012/04/26-9 http://www.ethicalcorp.com/supply-chains/sustainable-palm-oil-nestl%C3%A9supply-deal-may-be-game-changer http://www.newint.org/blog/2012/09/21/monoculture-plantations/ http://ourworldtoday.com.au/news/article/palm-oil-threat http://www.synchronicityearth.org/portfolio/forests/palm-oil/ http://nakedeyeview.com.my/other/Ganodermathreattooilpalmindustry.htm

Press http://ens-newswire.com/2012/09/06/palm-oil-plantation-cuts-core-fromcameroons-biodiversity/ http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/3/5/ business/10855124&sec=business http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/1/10/ nation/10229574&sec=nation http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/11/8/business/2012110809 3301&sec=business http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/the-guilty-secrets-of-palm-oil-areyou-unwittingly-contributing-to-the-devastation-of-the-rain-forests-1676218. html

15


2.2 Geo-localization Geo-localization by headquarters position

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/palm-oil-deal-a-threat-to-therainforest-1893312.html http://science.time.com/2011/03/07/palm-oil-plantations-equal-deforestation/ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/8296002/Malaysia-deforestation-Can-palmoil-plantations-be-good-news.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/8295815/Malaysiadeforestation-Why-is-palm-oil-so-controversial.html http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/02/malaysian-palm-oil-forests http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/palm-oil http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/jan/27/ biofuels-biodiesel-ethanol-palm-oil http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/apr/04/energy.indonesia http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/commitment-sustainable-palmoil-unilever http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/conservation/issues/palm-oildestroy-rainforest.htm http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/conservation/issues/palm-oildestroy-rainforest.htm http://wtvr.com/2012/07/07/groups-say-palm-oil-production-threatens-rainforests-wildlife/ http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/home/1273788/palm_oil_the_ hidden_ingredient_causing_an_ecological_disaster.html http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/15/14456815-demand-for-palmoil-used-in-packaged-food-products-leaves-orangutans-at-risk?lite http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-11/food-industry-challenged-to-labelpalm-oil/4124980 http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2011/08/25/federal-government-opposespalm-oil-labelling-bill.html http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2011/06/24/senate-passes-palm-oil-labellingbill.html http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/French-firms-urged-to-backaway-from-no-palm-oil-label-claims http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/Palm-oil-sustainability-Asensitive-issue-due-for-exponential-growth http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/Palm-oil-free-may-be-emerging-trend http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Palm-oil-sustainability-hampered-by-few-biodiversity-studies http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/31/business/worldbusiness/31biofuel. html?pagewanted=all http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/report-assails-palm-oil-project-incameroon/ http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-31/epa-rejects-palm-oil-basedbiodiesel-for-renewable-fuels-program.html http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8ed0eb48-17a3-11e2-9530-00144feabdc0.html http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/making-palm-oil-sustainable-1.22693 http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/french-paradox-in-negative-labelling-ofpalm-oil-1.150360 http://www.makingitmagazine.net/?p=5467 http://www.pri.org/stories/science/environment/french-grad-student-goes-palmoil-free-for-a-year-10671.html http://biodieselmagazine.com/articles/8670/palm-oil-biodiesel-and-the-renewable-fuel-standard http://www.theage.com.au/national/health-group-calls-for-palm-oil-labelling20100416-sklh.html http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2012/11/14/2003547685 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16336582 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/20/biodiversity-at-palm-oil_n_781799.html http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/the-threat-of-indonesias-palm-oilrush/425993 http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/10/08/us-indonesia-forests-idUSTRE4973T020081008 http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2012/11/14/2003547685 http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/palm-oil-labels-to-informaussie-shoppers.htm

16

http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/AUSBEL/Article/ http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal. pone.0001572 http://topics.bloomberg.com/palm-oil/ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-08/palm-oil-seen-extending-drop-onfalling-biofuel-appeal-fry-says.html http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/palm-oil-even-worse-deforestation-emissions-than-thought.html http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/palm-oil-a-rainforest-in-your-shopping. html

Science & Universities http://www.biodiversity.ox.ac.uk/iposc-international-palm-oil-sustainabilityconference-2012 http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/forest_solutions/palm-oil-andforests.html http://www.mongabay.com/external/foe_palm_oil.htm http://kids.mongabay.com/elementary/palm_oil.html http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0619-palm_oil_labeling_australia.html http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0425-oil_palm.html http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0130-biofuels_eu.html http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0519-epa-palm-oil-lobby.html http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0924-orangutans.html http://theconversation.edu.au/want-to-avoid-palm-oil-you-need-a-label-275 http://www.nature.com/news/palm-oil-boom-raises-conservation-concerns-1.10936 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=harvesting-palm-oil-andrainforests http://e360.yale.edu/feature/sustainable_palm_oil_rainforest_savior_or_fig_ leaf/2345/ http://www.cspinet.org/palm/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaeis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_oil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_and_environmental_impact_of_palm_oil http://www.cheme.utm.my/cheme/index.php/featured-article/biofuel-from-oilpalm http://www.cifor.org/bioenergy/_ref/research/output/published-document.htm http://www.asiabiomass.jp/english/topics/1007_04.html http://www.zslblogs.org/biodiversity-and-palm-oil/ http://www.zsl.org/conservation/regions/asia/indonesia/oil-palm-and-biodiversityproject,1180,AR.html http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/whats-on/discussion-meeting-oil-palm,233,EV. html http://www.slideshare.net/ZSL_BPO http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/blog/view/109 http://foodsecurity.stanford.edu/news/3584 http://www.climateavenue.com/en.biodiesel.palm.oil.htm http://conservationbytes.com/2008/09/18/oil-palm-plantations-destroyingtropical-biodiversity/

A first attempt of geo-localizing the URLs of the Corpus was then carried out. When we noticed that many organizations work on an international scale, we chose to use the declared position of their headquarters as parameter of classification (with a few exceptions). The countries more involved are the anglophone ones. This seems obvious due to the queries being made in English, but also confirms how much the topic is discussed on global scale. Compared to the related GHG (Green House Gases) controversy, the palm oil one appears equally widespread. Accordingly to what has been found out in Trends, Indonesia is still al-

most absent considering this country is one of the largest producers. On the contrary, Malaysia is much more relevant on the Web, with government and producers trying to advertise the quality of local palm oil. Australia shows a great interest towards orangutansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; extinction; United Kingdom web pages are split between corporations producing palm oil in Malaysia and a relevant number of environmentalist organizations. Last, United States carry the greatest volume of pages, as proportioned to their physical extension and of course to the high number of PCs per person.

Geo-localization: number of pages per Country 1-10 pages 11 - 30 pages 31 - 70 pages 70 - 90 pages

Zoos http://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/conservation/buy-palm-oil-free.aspx http://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/conservation/buy-palm-oil-free/palm-oil-freeshopping-guide.aspx http://www.cmzoo.org/conservation/palmOilCrisis/ http://www.zoo.org.au/get-involved/act-for-wildlife/dont-palm-us-off

83 (sites) U.S.A.

38 U.K.

23 Australia Malaysia

14

5

Switzerland

New Zeland

3 Italy Netherlands Singapore

2 Germany Indonesia Taiwan

1 Austria Canada Colombia France India Japan Norway

17


2.3 Mapping the controversy First crawl and data refinement

Further categorization Websites

208 pages <

In order to understand the complexity of the relationships between all the actors involved, we used Navicrawler (http:// webatlas.fr/wp/navicrawler/), using the whole Corpus as input and setting the Crawl function with the “depth” parameter to 1. This means that we collected only websites connected directly to the starting ones.

<

Navicrawler

<

7.273 “next” -URL homologation -Ads removal -Social networks removal - Revoming sites linked only once

7

6 8

u.

t.

v.

w.

x y. z.

A second crawl was then done to collect the connections between the sites obtained from the first one (i.e., the ones external to the original Corpus). After another manual refinement, we imported the final data into Gephi, which is the software that allowed to get a visualization of the whole. Although the actors were already roughly divided into their “zones of interest”, a clear comprehension of the whole was still difficult. In fact, the “Press” area appeared too wide, as it included many websites talking just marginally about our topic, typically in one or two pages only. Therefore, we decided to apply a deeper degree of refinement to the Press category cutting out every website with less than 4 incoming links. Before doing so, we ensured that this operation wouldn’t have modified too much the visual aspect of the map.

26

24

a. b.

s. r.

7

22

e.

q. 13

Companies & Certificators Environmentalists

Social & economic organizations Science & Universities Zoos

f. p. n.

m.

l.

i. h. k. j.

32

g.

15

“Nexts” <

o.

9

Navicrawler

12

5 13

Data refinement <

14

4 4 7 4

<

33

6 c. d.

Closer means more links between each other

In this visualization every bubble represents a website of the network. the bubble dimension depends on the number of incoming links from other websites while their position is determined by an algorithm that puts closer sites with more connections between each other. We set up Gephi parameters (mode: “ForceAtlas2” with “LinLog” mode and “Gravity” equal to 0; dimension of nodes with “inDegree” ).

Press

4 8

Bigger means more incoming links

Consumers

Second crawl and refinment

386 nodes 1,250 edges

5

Link

Map visualization

Authorities

Actors, their composition and number of websites for each one 5

We categorized manually this newly-obtained material once again by actors, as it was already carried out for the original Corpus. Since the content of websites had become more heterogenous with the awfully increased number of webpages, a further classification was introduced, subdividing the initial 8 categories into a total of 26.

<

After having removed spam and unrelated content (social networks, advertising and such) we unified URLs under the same macro-domains from the initial output of 7.273 sites (e.g., “www.panda.org/de” and “www.panda.org/uk” has been gathered under “www.panda.org/”). A further step was to get rid of all the sites linked only once, as we judged them not to yield relevant information.

12

2.4 Network map

Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

18

Social & economic organizations o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

2,669 edges <

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs

Press with inDegree < 5 removal <

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free

305 nodes 1999 edges

19


America

Europe

Africa

Asia

Oceania Companies & Certificators

UK

Environmentalists

Se

Consumers USA

Ca

Authorities

NL De

Social & economic organizations

Be Ch

Press It

Qa

Ph

Science & Universities

In

Every other result left out was eventually discarded.

Alchemy API 14,782 keywords refinement (cutting all keywords with “relevance”< 3)

8.074 keywords <

Zoos

Corpus (208 pages)

Selection of 10 “macro-topics”

My

Br

Results categorization Au

S.Afr.

<

Co

Id

NZ

Visualizations

Sample of semantic visualizations: “Science” United States (USA)

109

Australia (Au)

15

Switzerland (Ch)

2

Philippines (Ph)

2

Italy (It)

1

United Kingdom (UK)

54

Indonesia (Id)

3

Singapore (Sg)

2

Netherlands (Nl)

1

India (In)

1

International

50

Germany (De)

3

Canada (Ca)

2

Belgium (Be)

1

Qatar (Qa)

1

Malaysia (My)

27

New Zeland (N.Z.)

3

Sweden (Se)

2

South Africa (S.A.)

1

Colombia (Co)

1

Brazil (Br)

1

“Production”

“Industry”

Geo-localization by area of action

Interpretations

After having finilazed the network map, the next step was to geo-localize all its pages. Differently from what we did on the starting Corpus, we decided to select the Country of provenance or the area of action as classifier rather than the real physical location. To do so, some pages were labeled as “international” (e.g., Worldbank.org). Visualization was achieved with a series of pie charts for each country, where width stands for the number of sites and each slice represent the relevance of the actor within the country. They were then grouped and moved into geographical areas corresponding to the World.

Once again, anglophone nations are those appearing the most; this time Indonesia pops at the 6th place, after US, UK, Australia, Malaysia and international actors. We checked those pages and we found that Indonesian authorities are still quite absent. This sounds strange, considering the width of the debate and the role that Indonesia plays within the related global warming debate. Also Africa is almost absent apart from a South African website. This confirms that big vegetable oil multinationals operating in those countries are alien, with hedquarters placed in Western countries. Even China and India, despites they are among the top importers of the product, are quite

“Plantations” “Malaysian”

scarcely represented. Another interesting fact to point out is how companies are localized: the highest concentration can be found in the US, were we find many palm oil retailers but also producers. The second biggest group is located in Malaysia, where producers are in greater quantity. UK shares a similar situation with the US: it is the natural consequence of the lastcentury colonization by the english Empire in the asian South-East. Australia displays an appreciable number of companies, mostly retailers or “palm oil-free” producers. These are a relevant force in the debate between local environmentalists and consumers.

“Biofuel” “Companies”

Production

Sustainability

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

“Deforestation” (48)

Radar and “palm oil” attributes

“Sustainable”

20

16 1 1 5 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 7 2

<

Sg

“Tropical Peatlands” “Buying Deforestation” “Corporate Deforestation” “Deforestation” “Deforestation-Free Palm Oil” “Oil Drive Deforestation” “Tropical Deforestation Account” “Initial Logging” “Timber Companies” “Timber” “Intensive Timber” “Forest Fires” “Tropical Peatlands” “Carbon-Dense Peatlands” “Dry Peat” “Peat” “Peat Land Forest” “Peatland Degradation” “Tropical Peat Soil”

<

International

We moved forward with the analysis of the most recurring topics and words for each actor, using the Alchemy API tool (http:// www.alchemyapi.com/). It allowed us to process the semantic content of the original Corpus divided into categories. 14,782 keywords were harvested and then cut to 8,074 using a thereshold of relevance > 0,3. These were eventually grouped into the following “macro-topics”: Deforestation, Rainforest, Apes, Environment, Sustainability, RSPO, Food, Biofuel, GHG and Production.

<

Choice of keywords

<

Geo-localization and number of pages per actor

<

2.6 Semantic analysis

<

2.5 Second geo-localization

We opted for a radar-like visualization to represent the way each actor “speaks” in relation to macro-topics, using them as vertexes and, as values, the proportion between the numberwords classified under a certain topic to the total of words counted for that actor. Another fact worth mentioning is that the keyword “palm oil”, the most recurring one in the original Alchemy results, as expectable, carried several adjectives and names with it, which adds a deeper degree of information. The top 7 results for each actor were collected and displayed in the bubble-chart on the left.

30%* 20% 10% 0%

24%** 18% 12% 6% 0%

*Of word related to a specific topic **Of a palm oil definition on the total used

21


“Entities” analysis

Organizations

Alchemy provides also an output called “Entities” from which we tried to identify the most quoted companies, organizations and Countries. We represented the data in the following visualization. Very few corporations are displayed: the ones with the greatest relevance are Nestlè, Cargill and Unilever. This may be attributed to GreenPeace’s 2010 inquiries, as already documented in the Trends section (p. 11), although their common partner, Sinar Mas, is not as present. This may be explained by a possible loss

of information about Indonesia and its deforestation in the time frame from the starting point of the inquiry and its worldwide diffusion. World’s leading force in meat and soy production, Cargill, gets the second place. Not only it was already implied in the investigations about the Amazon rainforest destruction, it buys directly palm oil from Sinar Mas, adding fuel to the turbulent net of corporations kept in check. Among organizations and their obvious leading players (WWF and Greenpeace),

it is worth to point out the position of the European Union among the organizations. This probably happens because of the great volume of palm oil importation in Europe as biofuel raw material. The same motivation can be attributed to China and India being quite talked among countries, which strengthens the anomaly already noticed in the geo-localization (p. 16). A huge number of references is also given to Indonesian government, mainly for its criticized decisions on environment tutelage.

RSPO EU WWF UN

Companies & Certificators

Social & economic organizations

Environmentalists

Press

Consumers

Science & Universities

Authorities

Zoos

Indonesian government Greenpeace MPOC Malaysian government

Companies

EPA Oakland Institute

Companies

World bank

Countries

AFGC

3

2

4

5

6

6-7

8-9

10-11

Word count

Oxford University Nestlé

Indonesia

EFSA

Cargill

Malaysia

Australian Goverment

Unilever

United States

Rainforest Alliance

Sinar Mas Group

China

Wetlands International

Tesco

India

Conservation International

SGSO

United Kingdom

Orangutan foundation

Cadbury

Australia

World Resources Institute

Mintel

Brazil

Asia Development bank

Wal-mart

France

The Forest Trust

Golden Agri

New Zealand

National Academy of Sciences

Coles

Thailand

Sustainable Agriculture Network

Felda

Papua New Guinea

WENGOs

Herakles

Cameroon

Centre for Orangutan protection

Mark & Spencer

Norway

France government

PepsiCo

Singapore

FAO

Sainsbury

Liberia

NASH

Rainforest Solutions

Germany

National federation of oil palm

Kellogs

Belgium

Wildlife department

PTPN

Japan

Audtralian national university

Madagascar

Orangutan Survival foundation

Continets

22

Nigeria

Borneo Resources Institute

Europe

Sierra Leone

Forest Stewardship council

Asia

South-Africa

Rainforest action network

Africa

South-Korea

Standford University

South-America

Netherlands

University of Montana

North-America

Switzerland

ZSL

Continents

2-3

4-5

Word count

Countries

4-5

2-3

6-7

8-9

10-11

14-19

20-25

26-31

Word count Organizations

2-7

8-13

Word count

23


2.7 Protocol resume Google queries

5. Further geo-localization

7. Visualization

305 websites

Visualization of the geo-localization

<

3. Categorization

<

1. Corpus

Categorization

Geo-localization by area of action

Visualization of network map

<

208 pages

50 pages

“Palm oil sustainability”

<

50 pages

“Palm oil biodiversity”

<

20 pages

Eight actors

“Palm oil deforestation”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil threat”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil rainforest”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil label”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil biofuel”

<

20 pages

“Palm oil free”

<

20 pages

Companies & Certificators Environmentalists Consumers Authorities Social & economic organizations Press Science & Universities Zoos

Visualization of the semantic analysis

6. Semantic analysis Corpus (208 pages) <

<

Alchemy API

<

<

208 pages

<

Navicrawler

refinement (cutting all keywords with “relevance”< 3)

7.273 “next” - URL homologation - Ads removal - Social networks removal - Revoming sites linked only once

8.074 keywords

Categorization of words

<

208 pages

14,782 keywords

<

Google results

<

minus “spam” (ads, social networks, unrelated content..)

<

<

<

240 pages

4. Network analysis

<

<

<

<

“Palm oil”

<

386 nodes 1,250 edges

Further categorization <

First geo-localization Based on position of headquarters

24

<

Data refinement 2,669 edges <

<

Manual check

Press with inDegree < 5 removal <

<

<

Navicrawler

305 nodes 1999 edges

<

208 pages

<

Nexts

16 1 1 5 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 7 2

“Deforestation” (48) <

2. Geolocalization

“Tropical Peatlands” “Buying Deforestation” “Corporate Deforestation” “Deforestation” “Deforestation-Free Palm Oil” “Oil Drive Deforestation” “Tropical Deforestation Account” “Initial Logging” “Timber Companies” “Timber” “Intensive Timber” “Forest Fires” “Tropical Peatlands” “Carbon-Dense Peatlands” “Dry Peat” “Peat” “Peat Land Forest” “Peatland Degradation” “Tropical Peat Soil”

Selection of 10 “macro-topics”

25


03 Controversy by actors

26

27


3.1.1 Companies & certificators - Network Rapresentation of websites and their connections

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 1. RSPO Roundtable on Soustainble Palm Oil 2. MPOC Malaysian Palm oil council, established by malaysian producers 3. Cargill Food market leader 4. Sinar Mas An Indonesian company which is the second biggest palm oil producer

Website Link Bigger means more incoming links Closer means more links between each other Palm oil Certificators Oil palm Growers

2.

5. Consumption area Debate about palm oil packaged products 6. Nestlé 7. Unilever 8. FSC Certifier of wood and paper produced through ecofriendly processes.

21%

Number and kind of sites by Country

United States

Malaysia

United Kingdom Australia Indonesia

Websites geolocalization

Palm oil-free products Consumer goods manufactures

International Singapore Belgium Colombia Italy

4.

Netherlands New Zealand Sweden

3.

Switzerland

1.

Network map interpretation

7.

5.

6.

8.

28

As this portion of the map displays, the most relevant position within companies is held by RSPO, accordingly visualized with the highest “inDegree” parameter. Palm oil growers and producers are placed in the highest region, with MPOC (Malaysian Palm Oil Council) (2), the most important union of malaysian growers, being the main node among british, american and malaysian corporations. Consumer good manufactures, on the contrary, aren’t as homogenous; they are fragmented into 3 sub-groups: -the first, very close to RSPO; - another one, slightly more down and close to palm oil-free companies; - the last one, even more towards the bottom of the map, with few nodes. Meat and soy colossus Cargill (3) can be found at the same height of RSPO; this position appears unusual if compared with Bunge’s and A.D.M.’s ones, the other top driving forces in the food market, which are really close to MPOC, as most of the

producers are. Being a leader means being more exposed-which also implies the need to render the own public image trustworthy. Slightly above RSPO, we find the longlyinquired Sinar Mas (4) and its subsidiary Golden Agri. They both share a link with RSPO (to be read as “membership” ), despites their sustainability politics have been harshly criticized many times by NGOs. Sinar Mas is the only Indonesian producer in the map, along with Gapki. In the area (5) it is possible to notice the presence of consumption-driven companies, split between palm oil-free ones and manifactures. As shown in the analysis of the Consumers group (p. 36), this region also includes consumer sites in there, as they cover a part in the debate about boycotting inquired brands. Nestlè (6) plays a median role in the map, and its position well represents its centrality in the issue, while Unilever (7) is slightly above and on the

right- probably because 4 years have passed since Greenpeace’s investigation. F.S.C. (Forest Stewardship Council) (8) is an authority that certifies wood and paper obtained from forests. Part of the debate about deforestation in Indonesia is centered around whether or not the so-called High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) should be protected. They are defined as “very biodiverse, hosting endangendered species and/or ecosystems, meeting basic needs of tribal populations, or playing a central role in critical environmental scenarios (e.g., erosion)”. The problem is that the logging of trees (cutting, skidding, on-site processing, and loading) turns primary forests into secondary ones- thus, no more worth of being preserved according to RSPO’s criteria; this drives actors into opposite opinions. F.S.C. also holds a central place in the environmentalists area, being directly supported by them, although its conduct may be defined controversial.

29


3.1.2 Companies & certificators - Keywords Rapresentation of the links going from inner subcategories to the others (also self link are displayed)

Percentage of the total analyzed websites

Websites geolocalization

18%

a.

b.

Radar visualization displaying which are the most quoted topics Certificators

Keywords associated with palm oil

c.

Production r. Sustainable

u. v. t.

Plantations

n. m. l.

Growers

Malaysian Industry

e.

Crude

f. g. q. p. i.

Palm oil free

Olein

24%**

k. y. w. x. z.

Manufactures

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

18%

30%*

Production

Sustainability

20% 10% 0%

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

Notes

6. 7.

A term often used within this category when talking about food is “vitamin”probably with the purpose of praising the supposed healthy benefits of crude palm oil; something that sounds curious, if compared with the “Nutella Tax” by the french Government.

*Of word related to

**Of a palm oil definition on the total used

a specific topic

Food related words 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

1.Vitamin - 2.French - 3. Products - 4.Regulation - 5. Ingredient - 6.Deep fried - 7-Safe

30

12% 6% 0%

31


3.2.1 Environmentalists - Network Rapresentation of websites and their connections

Percentage of the total analyzed websites

Website

1. RSPO Roundtable on sustainable palm oil 10. WWF 11. Greenpeace 12. Conservation group 13. Apes protection area 14. Deforestation watch Pro palm oil website

Link Bigger means more incoming links Closer means more links between each other

14.

Conservation

22%

United States

United Kingdom

Australia Indonesia

Apes protection

Websites geolocalization

Generic

Number and kind of sites by Country

International Germany Malaysia Brazil Sweden

1.

Network map interpretation 11.

10. 13.

12.

32

As companies, so environmentalists are split on the map into 3 defined areas. Generic environmental organizations are located in the middle; some are closer to WWF (10), which is the second greatest node in the whole map, while others are closer to Greenpeace (11). Conservation institutes (12) are placed halfway between WWF and the international authorities, like UN and UNEP; finally, sites for the tutelage of endangered apes (13) can be found in the bottom-right corner, representing a relevant portion on the total (around half). Their interaction with the core of the debate is at a minimum, as they are just connected among themselves and to similar-purpose nodes. What sounds interesting is that, despites Indonesia hosting an appreciable number of species at risk (Sumatran tiger most of all, with just 400 examplars left), the only animals directly mentioned in this subgroup are orang-utans and, marginally, gibbons, as they are fit to live just in those

rainforests. On the other side, there are a few sites concerning the protection of gorillas, which is to be interpreted in regard to the expansion of plantations in Africa. We can trace a parallelism between the positions held by the members of this actor on the map and the debate: if RSPO was to be considered the point where the controversy about sustainability reaches its peak in relation to environmentalists, we could define Greenpeace and its â&#x20AC;&#x153;minionsâ&#x20AC;? as the first-front line, WWF the second one, and the conservation groups as the rear guard. While the first two lines are concerned about deforestation and the whole spectrum of its consequences (GHGs increasing, biodiversity loss, etc.), with the front one attacking corporations, the latter just focuses on protecting the primary rainforest to save its hosts; which is uncorrect, since even losing secondary forests, although being less relevant for fauna/flora

richness, means generating as much Carbon Dioxide increase. Alone on the top appears Deforestation Watch (14), a malaysian environmentalist association linked exclusively to those local authorities strongly supporting palm oil use. Unsurprisingly, this group of sites also displays several connections with oil producers (moved by strong economic purposes), and therefore their content canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be considered entirely truthful.

33


3.2.2 Environmentalists - Words Rapresentation of the links going from inner subcategories to the others (also self link are displayed)

Websites geolocalization

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 19%

e.

f.

g.

Radar visualization displaying which are the most quoted topics

Keywords associated with palm oil

Generic r. Plantations

s.

Sustainable

u. t. Production

v. x.

Industry

w. y. l.

Apes rpotection

Companies

m.

Trees

n. a. c. b. d. p. q. j. h. k. z.

Conservation

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

Trade

24%** 18%

30%*

Production

Sustainability

20% 10% 0%

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

*Of word related to

12% 6% 0%

**Of a palm oil definition on the total used

Notes

a specific topic

Deforestation related words 1.

2.

3.

4. 5.

On a semantic point of view, it is worth noting how often the word “deforestation” is replaced with “destruction” within this websites - an emphasis that well renders their position.

1.Destruction - 2.Deforestation - 3.Fires - 4.Loss - 5.Clearance

34

35


3.3.1 Consumers - Network Rapresentation of websites and their connections

Percentage of the total analyzed websites

Website

1. RSPO Roundtable on sustainable palm oil 5. Consumption area Debate about palm oil packaged products 10. WWF 11. Greenpeace 15. Say No To Palmoil 16. Palmoilhealth

Link Bigger means more incoming links Closer means more links between each other

16.

Petitions

6%

Number and kind of sites by Country

United States United Kingdom Malaysia Australia International Philippines

Blogs

Websites geolocalization

Ethical consumption Consumer goods manufactures

1.

Network map interpretation 5. 11.

10.

36

15. If we were to simplify the whole content of the controversy to few words, we could say: â&#x20AC;&#x153; Some companies are destroying the rainforest, cradle of many rare species and source of oxygen, to produce palm oil, which will be eventually filled into products bought by consumers, (un)awarely financing palm oil producers and retailers with their money.â&#x20AC;? Although being too straightforward of a description, it matches with how poorly consumers hold relevance on the map, considering how important they should be; this may be imputed to their lack of knowledge on the subject. The greatest crowding of consumer-dedicated websites can be found in the Area (5) along with several brands using palm oil, as well as palm oil-free ones; they are placed halfway between the inquiredbrands and those who petition boycott for moral and ethical reasons. Another interesting fact is the distance between producers and consumers, which is

as physical (the first hold their industries in the asian South-East or in Africa, while the latter are located in North America, Europe or Australia) as virtual: very few information is given away about how palm oil gets refined and produced, so the only thing allowed is trying to understand which buyable products are filled with. While being the eye of storm in the tensions with environmentalists, RSPO works here as a filter between the two parts, serving as a certifying authority for those who seek guarantees. Saynotopalmoil.com (15), a blog founded by a 16-year old Australian boy that supports information on palm oil usage, is worth to be mentioned not just for its content, but also for relevance in the Google queries: it was always ranked 3rd of 4th among the top results, coming before Greenpeace, WWF, MPOC and even RSPO.

Another point of relevance is in the Area (16), containing Palmoilhealth.org and Tocotrienol.org. They aim to give a detailed description of the benefic effects, but their direct connection with some producers make them as unreliable as Deforestation Watch in the Environmentalist group.

37


3.3.2 Consumers - Words Rapresentation of the links going from inner subcategories to the others (also self link are displayed)

Percentage of the total analyzed websites

Websites geolocalization

8%

e.

Ethical f. g.

Radar visualization displaying which are the most quoted topics

Keywords associated with palm oil

r. u. Sustainable

s.

b. Blogs

Production

c. Industry

d. a.

Trade

q. p.

Biofuel

o. j. k. h. i. m.

Health

Business Unsustainable

n. l. w.

Petition

24%** 18%

x. z.

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

12% 6% 0%

30%*

Production

Sustainability

20% 10% 0%

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

Notes

4.

Consumers often match the adjective “ethical” to “food” and “consumption”, as they try to promote responsible buying choices.

*Of word related to

**Of a palm oil definition on the total used

a specific topic

Food related words 1.

2.

3.

5.

1.Ethical - 2.Ingredient - 3.Cooking - 4.Product - 5.Snack

38

39


3.4.1 Authorities - Network Rapresentation of websites and their connections

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 1. RSPO Roundtable on Soustainble Palm Oil 10. WWF 11. Greenpeace 17. UNEP United Nation Environmental Program 18. DEFRA UK Department for environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Website Link Bigger means more incoming links Closer means more links between each other

19.

Agriculture Environmental

19. MPOB Malaysian Palm Oil Board 20. EPA Environmental Protection Agency

10%

International

United States Australia Malaysia United Kingdom

Websites geolocalization

Other

Number and kind of sites by Country

New Zeland

1.

Network map interpretation

11. 20.

10.

18.

17.

40

International authorities are mainly located in the bottom-left corner on the map, where we can find UN (United Nations, also known as ONU) and its environmentdriven subsidiaries, UNEP and UNESCO. This cloud of nodes is disjuncted from RSPO, as they don’t recognize it as a valid certifying act; still, their distance from the core of the controversy renders very well the liberal setting that underlies palm oil trade. If things worked out properly, authorities would act as a bond between companies and consumers, as well as monitoring deforestation and production rates; this role is actually held by RSPO itself- a fact that makes it easy for companies to defend their own business by keeping certifying standards and warranties very low (although being criticized even by WWF, which is actually a member of RSPO). Governmental acts directly connected to the Roundtable are: english DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Ru-

ral Affairs) (18) and MPOB (Malaysian Palm Oil Board) (19), both operating on territory and agriculture. They also happen to be share a relation, as Malaysian Government’s logo can be found in DEFRA’s website pages; anyways, MPOB’s position at the top of the map close to corporations, along with fellow Ministry of Plantation Indutries and Commodities, already talks clear about how local Government is financing palm oil production to support the economic growth of the Country. Node (20) stands for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which debated the use of palm oil as a fuel with Malaysian authorities – until being judged inappropriate in January of 2012.

41


3.4.2 Authorities - Words Rapresentation of the links going from inner subcategories to the others (also self link are displayed)

Websites geolocalization

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 3%

l.

m.

Radar visualization displaying which are the most quoted topics

Keywords associated with palm oil

Environment n. Production r. Sustainable u.

Other

t. v. w.

Sector

x. y. g.

Supply Extracted

e.

Indonesian f.

Economy

a. c. b

Agricolture

24%**

p. o. q.

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

42

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

18%

*Of word related to

30%*

Production

Sustainability

20% 10% 0%

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

12% 6% 0%

**Of a palm oil definition on the total used

a specific topic

43


3.5.1 Social & economic org. - Network Rapresentation of websites and their connections

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 1. RSPO Roundtable on Soustainble Palm Oil 10. WWF 11. Greenpeace 21. Worldbank 22. Surviva International Organization for tribes protection

Website Link Bigger means more incoming links Closer means more links between each other

12% United States

United Kingdom International

24.

Sustainability Development

23. Ceopalmoil Malaysian Pro palm-oil org 24. Palm Oil Truth Fundation Malaysian Pro palm-oil org

Number and kind of sites by Country

Malaysia

23.

Websites geolocalization

Market Information

Australia

1.

Network map interpretation

11. 22.

10.

21.

44

This is the most heterogeneous group, as shown by its extension on the map, although some crowds are still recognizable (especially around WWF). The first one is located in the lower area, and includes companies basing their business on sustainability, as well as noprofit associations; there also acts concerning social development and inequalities, like WorldBank (21) and Amnesty International. Another node worth mentioning is Survival International (22), describing itself as “The movement for tribal people” living in the forest and thus in serious danger because of palm oil plantations. In this context, the palm oil case can be read as an allegory of colonialism, in which a dominating culture (the capitalist one) moves and destroys the autochtonous. This parallelism may be valid because palm oil is produced by non-local multinationals just to be exported and consumed by non-local populations.

It also strikes a lot how much orangutans weigh more on the map (thus arguably also in society) than those populations. The two informative websites, Ceopalmoil. com (23) and Palmoiltruthfoundation (24), are both malaysian and located nearby MPOC; once again, they’re strongly supporting the palm oil cause, with the promise of “getting the facts right” (as CEOs’ moniker claims). Their belief is that western environmentalist, financed by european governments, are attacking palm industry to boycott their products so that european vegetable oil industry no longer holds competitors. This interpretation is quite popular in the malaysian domain; France’s “Nutella tax” was criticized as a visible attempt to break their market supremacy.

45


3.5.2 Social & economic org. - Words Rapresentation of the links going from inner subcategories to the others (also self link are displayed)

Websites geolocalization

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 12%

r.

Sustainability u. s. v. t.

Radar visualization displaying which are the most quoted topics

Keywords associated with palm oil

e. Production

g. f. a.

Plantation

c. Industry

b. q. Market Info

Sustainable

p.

Malaysian

o.

Biofuel

l. m.

Development

n. y. w. x. j. k.

Development

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

46

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

24%** 18%

*Of word related to

30%*

Production

Sustainability

20% 10% 0%

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

12% 6% 0%

**Of a palm oil definition on the total used

a specific topic

47


3.6.1 Press - Network Rapresentation of websites and their connections

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 1. RSPO Roundtable on Soustainble Palm Oil 10. WWF 11. Greenpeace 25. The Guardian 26. The Jakarta Post 27. The Jakarta Globe 28. Malaysian Press Area 29. New York Times

Website Link Bigger means more incoming links Closer means more links between each other Daily news

19%

United States

United Kingdom

Australia

Financial

Websites geolocalization

Scientific

Number and kind of sites by Country

Ecological

Malaysia Indonesia Canada

Other

India International

28.

Philippines Qatar

1.

27.

29.

Network map interpretation

11. 25

26.

10.

48

Although its content was refined twice, news still result as the most weightful among all the actors. It is composed for the most part of daily newspapers, the most linked one being The Guardian (25); it can be found in the center of the map near Greenpeace and WWF. Indonesia’s Jakarta Post (26) and Jakarta Globe (27) carry notable weight, mainly because they are written and refer to an English-speaking target, healthiest class in lo-

cal society; the first one probably shares a point of view similar to The Guardian’s, moved by an indipendent attitude. Malaysian press finds its place in the higher area, as it shares MPOC’s entusiasthic faith in palm oil forces as valid leaders in the asian economic boom. Moving to West, the very-quoted New York Times (29) takes distance UK’s counterparts, as much in physical position (nearby finance) as in its attitude towards the

controversy, more geared towards neutrality. Meanwhile, ecologism-related acts agree with environmentalists and discuss RSPO and sustainable production; scientific press obviously find their place nearby science-driven communities.

49


3.6.2 Press - Words Rapresentation of the links going from inner subcategories to the others (also self link are displayed)

Websites geolocalization

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 24%

r.

u.

s.

Daily news

Radar visualization displaying which are the most quoted topics

Keywords associated with palm oil

v.

t. e.

Sustainable

f. g.

Production

l. Plantations

m. n. w.

Ecological

Industry

y. Malaysian

x. c. Scientific

Other Financial

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

50

Business

a. b. d. q. o. p. j. h. k. z.

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

Council

24%** 18%

*Of word related to

30%*

Production

Sustainability

20% 10% 0%

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

12% 6% 0%

**Of a palm oil definition on the total used

a specific topic

51


3.7.1 Science & universities - Network Rapresentation of websites and their connections

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 1. RSPO Roundtable on Soustainble Palm Oil 10. WWF 11. Greenpeace 30.Realclimate 31. IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature

Website Link Bigger means more incoming links Closer means more links between each other

32. Mongabay Website about world rainforests 33. CSPInet Centre of Science in the Public Interest 34. The Conservation

Number and kind of sites by Country

8% United States United Kingdom International Indonesia South Africa

Conservation

Switzerland

Universities

Websites geolocalization

Other

Australia

1. 33. 34.

Network map interpretation 30. 32.

7.

6.

31.

52

As consumers, so science is under-represented on the map. This was quite striking to us, since palm oil debate revolves around two important scientific issues to say the least, i.e. biodiversity loss and global warming; we don’t know the real causes of such marginality, but we may assume that it happens because scientific research needs consistent funds to live, and those are usually distributed by rich companies, as food and energy corporations involved in the palm oil case. In the area (30), it is possible to observe a dense crowding of nodes, with Realclimate showing several links; deforestation and its consequences are being discussed in here, in an echoing dialogue that involves first-class acts as Nature and PNAS (Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences). The lower part is populated by conservation institutes, as well as those for the tutelage of rare species. Among these, the most important is IUCN (Internation-

al Union for Conservation of Nature) (31), which is the main voice on matter of biodiversity loss; it has published a “red list” of endangered species that has become the scientific standard. Still, it’s surprising to note that it covers just a side position on the net. Curiously, the most centered nodes in this category aren’t directly bound to big scientific institutes. America’s Mongabay (32), financed by privates, shares news and discoveries about wildlife and rainforest; pretty high on the map there’s also CSPI.net (33), Center for Science in the Public Interest, no-profit organization defending consumers’ right to get truthful information and author of the explicitly-named “Cruel Oil” reportage. The third one is The Conversation.edu (34), sharing research material from universities and quite near to RSPO. All these actors offer critical positions towards the issue.

53


3.7.2 Science & universities - Words Rapresentation of the links going from inner subcategories to the others (also self link are displayed)

Percentage of the total analyzed websites

Websites geolocalization

12%

r.

t. u. v. s.

Conservation

Radar visualization displaying which are the most quoted topics

Keywords associated with palm oil

e. Production

f. c. l.

Sustainable

m.

Industry

n. Plantation

x.

Malaysian

w.

Biofuel

Other y.

Companies

p. o. q. c. a. b. j.

Universities

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

24%** 18%

30%*

Production

Sustainability

20% 10% 0%

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

*Of word related to

12% 6% 0%

**Of a palm oil definition on the total used

Notes

a specific topic

Environment related words 1.

2.

3.

4.

The word â&#x20AC;&#x153;biodiversityâ&#x20AC;? is very popular within the scientific realm, appearing more times than half of the other environment-related terms.

1.Biodiversity - 2.Environmental - 3. Habitat - 4.Ecosystem

54

55


3.8.1 Zoos - Network Rapresentation of websites and their connections

Percentage of the total analyzed websites

Website

1. RSPO Roundtable on sustainable palm oil 10. WWF 11. Greenpeace 13. Apes protection area

Link Bigger means more incoming links Closer means more links between each other

Number and kind of sites by Country

2% United States Australia International New Zeland

Zoos Apes protection

Websites geolocalization

1.

Network map interpretation 11.

10. 13.

56

The last group, notably smaller than the others, is composed of zoos. They claim themselves “protectors of biodiversity”, as caging animals works as a way to preserve them from dangers related to deforestation. Zoos gain their profits selling wildlife; this is the reason why they are so concerned about the issue, and is also the core of an argument between malaysian producers and australian organizations for orangutans protection, some of which are con-

nected with zoos themselves; because of this, the two groups are close on the map. This led us to a deeper observation: if we observe the position of environmentalists, we can realize how the more they are far from RSPO and the core of the controversy, the narrower their purpose of conservation becomes. While the nodes in the center care about saving forests, the ones under them only focus on HCVFs; groups even lower go further in considering only one specie, as it happens for orangutans.

The proximity shown by zoos with these latter environmentalists made us think that if the focus on the debate gets away from deforestation caused by companies, maybe they’ll become the only place able to conserve biodiversity.

57


3.8.2 Zoos - Words Rapresentation of the links going from inner subcategories to the others (also self link are displayed)

Websites geolocalization

Percentage of the total analyzed websites 3%

e.

f.

w.

Zoos

Radar visualization displaying which are the most quoted topics

Keywords associated with palm oil

m.

Palm oil - free

l.

Sustainable

n.

Consumption

c.

Crisis Industry

z.

Plantations Production

h. j.

24%**

r.

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

58

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

18%

*Of word related to

30%*

Production

Sustainability

20% 10% 0%

Deforestation

RSPO

Rainforest

Food

Orangutan

Biofuel

Environment

GHGs

12% 6% 0%

**Of a palm oil definition on the total used

a specific topic

59


04 Links meaning

60

61


4.1 Case study: Cargill Cargill’s position in the network visualization

Cargill’s links meaning 45.SoyaTech 44.Poram

45. 44. 46. 4.

41.

47.

46.Fediol

4.Sinar Mas

3. 1.

3.Cargill

Debate region

38.

33. 39.

Producers region

41.Financial Times

7.

37.

47.WSJ 38.CBS

33.CSPNet

1.RSPO

39.The Dayly Green

29.

37.Huffington Post

35.

40.

29.NYTimes

7.Unilever 35.RAN

36.

40.WFP

10.

42. 36.BBC

10.WWF

43.

Links

42.World Watch

Incoming to Cargill Outgoing from Cargill

The importance of Cargill Company 3. Cargill 10. WWF

46. Fediol

35. R.A.N.

7. Unilever

43. Fauna-flora

44. Poram

47. Wall Street Journal

42. Worldwatch

39. Thedailygreen

45. Soyatech

41. Financial Times 37. Huffington Post 29. New York Times 38. CBS News 36. BBC

62

1. RSPO

40. World Food Program 33. Cspnet

The visualization displays Cargill’s website (in the center) and its main connections. Cargill is the largest private soy grower company that is also related to palm oil production in the Sunda Islands.

As already explained, the position of a certain node depends on the quantity of incoming and outgoing links; still, not all of them underlie the same meaning. In order to explain certain “hidden” dynamics in the net, we opted to analyze a notable case: Cargill and its connections. Not only one of the most controversial players in the dispute, being longly inquired in the debate about biodiversity loss, it is also the central act in the central region on the map, as it talks to most of the other groups.

Possible connection denouced by environmentalists

43.Fauna Flora

All the criticism links come from the lower region of the map, where the debate and the cloud of nodes is more dense.

Relations Criticism Quotation Membership Partnership Supply

63


Resuming visualization of Cargill’s relations

Companies links

Science and universities links

Social and economical orgs

7.Unilever 3.Cargill

3.Cargill

Cargill doesn’t show direct links to consumers, which are very far from producers; the closer connection between the two groups comes from Unilever that is criticised by Ethical.org. This fits the facts in reality, as Unilever is more discussed by media, while Cargill is more distant from the debate area. Still, very few know about their affairs.

One link comes from CSP (Centre for Science in the Public interest). This NGO focuses on nutrition, health and food safety. It carried out an inquiry on palm oil entitled “Cruel oil” where Cargill is quoted with criticism.

Aside the socio-economical informator Soyatech, Cargill also displays inbound connections from Worldwatch in the meaning of criticism. In an article on RSPO policy Warldwatch declare that its restrictions don’t stop deforestation but only slow it down.

Authorities links

Companies links

3.Cargill

3.Cargill

Relations

38.Ethical

Criticism Quotation Membership

3.Cargill

3.Cargill

Two links are directed to WFP (World Food Program), as Cargill shares a 10-year old partnership with it. The multinational gives donations as money, food, medicines, as well as supporting school, most of all in Indonesia and India: duties usually under the responsibility of government and authorities. What’s more ironic in our discoveries is that Cargill is accused of helping via WFP the same local workers exploited in its factories and fields.

A total of 7 connections are shown in relation to news. We didn’t check the content of the 6 outgoing links to dailies and such because, in all likelihood, press content of that kind shows positive reviews. Contrarily, the only incoming means criticism and comes from an ecologist publication. On the map, every incoming link to Cargill from the lower part contains accusations.

Partnership Supply

Companies links

Environmentalists links

3.Cargill

3.Cargill

There are four visible links connecting Cargill with other companies. The first one is inbound from Malaysia’s Poram, and has to be read as a moneyinvolving relationship: more precisely, Poram is a supplier of Cargill. Another incoming connection comes from Fediol, european federation representing the business of vegetable oils; this link can be interpreted as a membership, since the american colosuss holds several palm oil routes towards the Old continent. Another membership can be found in the two-way connection with RSPO; all other outbound links from the Roundtable

carry the same meaning, i.e. Greenpalm certification. Cargill also relates in a trade affair to Unilever. Connections between producers and consumer goods manufactures are usually rare, as well as unknown to consumers; in this case, its officialization was a chance for Cargill to improve its public image after Greenpeace approved Unilever’s sustainability politics. Surprisingly, relationships towards environmentalist forces are also present. One comes from RAN (Rainforest Action Network), first-line organization accusing Cargill to get supplies from Sinar Mas,

64

and to exploit manpower in developing Countries; another one underlies partnership with WWF, with the purpose of regulating plantations volume and their increase. By the way, Cargill also partners with “Fauna & Flora” to prevent High Conservation Value Forest from being destroyed. Agreements between corporations and environmentalist are frequent, and they arguably imply monetary relationships.

Other examples We found other interesting links between companies and environmentalists. For example NBPOL (New Britain Palm Oil Limited), which is very close to consumers and producers, has an incoming link from forests4orangutans.org; this may mean a greater tendency by this company to communicate with the other side of the debate. NBPOL appears as one of the enviromental NGO partner. This connection clearly points out where funds for the association

are coming from. A similar case is Tesco; very low on the map, almost in the area containing pages for the protection of apes. Among its inbound links, we can find an accuse from FOE (Friends of Earth) and The Ecologist, but also incoming connection from Rainforestsos.org (meaning partnership). How much can an association be indipendent from its financers ?

65


05 Resume

66

67


5.1 Actors resume Rapresentation of the palm oil websites network and its main “regions” Every bubble in the visualization rapresent a website of the network. We can notice different areas where gather websites belonging to a specific ator.

The map “regions” with their main websites are very important to study the dynamics of the controversy and its subcontroversies.

of Palm Oil ense affa Def irs MPOB MPOA MPOC Palm Oil truth foundation

Palm oil promoters ADM Business Times

Malaysian press TheStar

Production Companies RSPO

Cargill Reuters

Consumer good umer choic manufacturers cons e

ebate sd

Press and media

FreeofPalmOil

RAN

Clim a

Mongabay TheGuardian BBC Survival Imnternational

Moderate Environmentalists FOE

While the previous section of the report was focused on each single actor and its relation with the others, we are now aiming to give a global view of the controversy. The visualizations above were built from the network map and aim to displays areas for each group. While the one on the left focuses on the whole spectrum of nodes and their distribution, the other one divides few relevant actors according to their orientation in the debate (e.g., all those favouring palm oil trade, standing in the top peak), summarizing what has emerged so far in our work of documenting and interpretating connections and positions.

Nature UNEP conservation UN-REDD

Forest4Orangutans

Amnesty

WWF

FAO

How do actors talk about topics?

Consumer

me

Apes protection

So

International WorldBank authorities FAO

GreenPeace

tion rotec Forest p

Science

Activists

ate eb

Realclimate nge and biofue cha ld te

fo r

Science for conservation

IUCN Conservation

es t

are ap rote ction

Zoos

WAZA OaklandZoo

Companies & Certificators

Social & economic organizations

Environmentalists

Press

Consumers

Science & Universities

Authorities

Zoos


5.2 Topics resume How do actors talk about topics?

Production

Biofuel

Environment

Sustanability

Rspo

Food

Orangutans

Forest

Deforestation

Ghg

The chart above displays macro-topics, and has been built from the starting Corpus processed with Alchemi API. While the width of the slices is directly proportioned to the relevance of each actor, their radial extension stands for the times keyword related to a topic are quoted. On a global level, it is possible to make some observations, first of which being the weak represention of both “GHGs” and “deforestation”, which conflicts with the relevance such topics should cover. What sounds more counter-intuitive is that the greatest slice for “sustainability” belongs to producers and certificators. We could hypotize that this is due to the high number of “Corporate responsibility” pages in the first results of the queries trying to build a sensibilized attention to environmental issues. This is likely to lead to a biased comprehension of the phenomenon if one just attains to the surface of digital data without going deeper.

This visualization displays a resume of the semantyc analysis of the websites pages content. For each macro-topic we can see how much is debated and which actor debate it.

Authorities

30%*

News

20%

Science & Universities

10%

Environmentalists

0%

Zoos Consumers Companies & Certificators Socio-economic organizations

Volume of the total actor’s pages * Of keywords found related to a specific topic


5.3 Links resume An intricacy of connections The second visualization displays relations between all the actors and their subgroups. It may be accounted as more deep and somehow “reliable” information than the previous one, since data were obtained from the crawled Corpus and then cut off links with a weight lesser than 3, not enough relevant. Environmentalists emerge as the most active force: they hold the most weightful connections (rendered by the stroke of the archs) of the whole net, “talking” within themselves and with news for the most. Interaction with companies is reduced to a minimum; this confirms what had been already noticed.

Links between subcategories z.

e.

Companies & Certificators a. Growers b. Consumer goods manufactures c. Certificators d. Palm oil-free Environmentalists e. Generic f. Apes protection g. Conservation

f.

Consumers h. Ethical consumption i. Health j. Petitions k. Blogs Authorities l. Environment m. Other n. Agriculture

g.

h. i. k. j.

c.

d.

a.

b.

Social & economic orgs o. Sustainability p. Development q. Market information

Science & Universities w. Conservation x. Universities y. Others

Press r. Daily news s. Ecological t. Scientific u. Financial v. Others

Zoos z. Zoos

All links coming from a category are of its colour.

o.

p.

q.

w.

This visualization displays a resume of the connection among subcategories of websites, which are represented by every block at the base labelled with a letter. The archs Thickness stands for the links number.

x. y.

l.

n.

m. v.

u.

t.

s.

r.

Selflinks


Conclusions Research done through digital methods has helped us to understand and bring to surface the patterns underneath palm oil. A first conclusion can be made about RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable palm oil) and its evident contradiction. Although originally born to certify palm oil sustainability and offer guarantees to consumers, in the end it just reveals as a facade of officiality with the purpose of favouring corporational business. In such a way RSPO stands still in the matter of environment despites the increase of accusations and inquires. This already demonstrates how deceptive the information taken on the Web can be if not accompanied with a proper depth of research. Authorities are not very effective in preventing deforestation. Sometimes local government even help commercial expansion (see Malaysia) instead of keeping super partes. French “Nutella tax” is the first example of a Government actively doing something. As displayed by Trends chart on the side, it is beginning to generate a lot of mediatic turmoil in these days. Our hope is that this may be a first step towards more valid regulations. Moreover, notable was the attention given by certain environmentalists associations towards orangutans, the animal most resembling human and thus very powerful as a symbol. Their lack of interest in certain aspects of the issue, along with the discovery of frequent partnerships with zoos and corporations, makes us suspicious with what may lie beneath. On the other hand, activist ONGs appear very concerned, directly attacking the supposed responsible for deforestation. Despites their detailed inquiries, we noticed that only a small part of the is-

sue gets to the sight of both media and consumers. In fact, they generate a debate focused only on charged companies which are the largest and more visible because of their commercial success. These often stand at the end of the production chain (i.e. the goods manufacturers) but a lot of information about their suppliers is overlooked. As an example lots of information is given about Nestlé and Unilever, but how many consumers know about Sinar Mas? They are induced into narrowly boycotting few brands, without being provided a glimpse of the whole. Such phenomenon is also a direct consequence of the structure of the Web. Although potentially infinite, it tends to mirror society in giving relevance to a little window of “hot” topics while keeping hidden everything else. Only a few web pages really contribute to build the dialogue. The rest works just as an echo for them. This concept fully applies for palm oil. It was also confirmed by an attempt we made to get the proportion between the total extension of the issue on Internet and what is displayed on our map. We compared the numer of endangered mammal species in Indonesia with those used in campaigns against palm oil, as well as the total number of companies with an RSPO membership in relation to those found in our Google queries. The charts on the right clearly show the disproportion. In a scenario where everyone is talking at his own advantage and available knowledge is limited, we question whether the solution should come from authorities or should be left to the personal interest of consumers.

Latest google Trends Query: “Palm Oil” Date: 08/01/2013 100 80 60 40 20

2005

2007

2009

2011

The visible and the not-so-visible on the Web RSPO members in our network map Indonesian endangered species attracting web attention

1184

Not so visible portion of the controversy 183 24

2


76


The Palm Pattern  

DensityDesign Research Lab. A.Y. 2012-2013. Integrated Course Final Synthesis Studio. Credits: Irene Cantoni, Claudio Cardamone, Sara De Don...

Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you