Within the field of sustainable development, there is no concern more fundamental than the governance and management of land and natural re- sources. Yet institutional investors with significant holdings in emerging markets securities often fail to account for the material risks and benefits of properly incorporating land tenure and customary land rights into due diligence practices.
Current ranking among US equity investors with stocks in palm oil production, by dollar amount invested.
TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture, one of the largest corporations on the international land market, is buying huge tracts of land in Brazil’s Cerrado region. TIAA-CREF’s land acquisition is part of a trend leading to expropriation of land from indigenous people, Afro-Brazilian quilombolas, and other peasant farmers, and driving the destruction of the fragile Cerrado ecosystem.
The investment management firm TIAA is leading a trend of speculating in land markets, which drives up farmland prices and displaces family farmers.
Nigeria is a key frontier country for palm oil expansion. Since 2010, Wilmar International has acquired thirty-thousand of hectares of land for palm oil plantations in southeastern Nigeria, and the company plans to expand its Nigerian land bank to hundreds of thousands of hectares.
This report shows that global palm oil companies Bumitama Agri and Wilmar International, backed by major U.S. and European investors, have created conditions that have allowed Indonesia’s devastating forest fires to burn out of control.