Press Releases

September 21, 2015

A Gap the Size of Indonesia in Latest Palm Oil Commitment from PepsiCo

Rainforest Action Network calls on snack food giant to close loopholes driving forest destruction, climate pollution and human rights violations In Indonesia 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989, Emma@ran.org

San Francisco, CA - Following two years of escalating public outcry over its use of Conflict Palm Oil, today PepsiCo released a new palm oil commitment that environmental and human rights organizations immediately labeled as both inadequate and incomplete. 

“PepsiCo’s new palm oil commitment has a loophole big enough to drive a bulldozer through,” said Rainforest Action Network’s Agribusiness Campaign Director Gemma Tillack. “PepsiCo has exempted from its policy the maker of all PepsiCo branded products in Indonesia, its joint venture partner Indofood. This means rainforest destruction and human rights abuses can continue unabated for use in PepsiCo branded products.”

PepsiCo’s newly announced commitment specifically exempts Indofood from adhering to its heightened social and environmental standards. Indofood produces the PepsiCo products containing palm oil in Indonesia; the third largest private palm oil company in Indonesia, Indofood remains the last company among the top three palm oil growers yet to adopt a responsible palm oil policy.

“PepsiCo’s latest commitment is a missed opportunity and a half step when what is urgently needed is bold action. Any serious responsible palm oil commitment must include Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer and the country most greatly impacted by rainforest destruction and human rights abuses caused by palm oil plantation expansion,” said Tillack.

This isn’t the first time PepsiCo has issued a revised palm oil commitment that has failed to appease its critics. In May 2014, PepsiCo responded to public pressure over its use of Conflict Palm Oil by adopting a new commitment that lacked both key safeguards and an ambitious deadline, as well as a time-bound implementation plan to ensure that its suppliers actually halt destructive practices.

“Our public campaign targeting PepsiCo will continue until PepsiCo puts its words into action on the ground where it counts, in Indonesia,” said Tillack. “PepsiCo must step up to be a leader by requiring Indofood halt its bulldozers and join efforts to break the link between palm oil, deforestation and human rights abuse that are rife in the industry.”

PepsiCo uses an immense amount of palm oil: its annual consumption could fill enough Pepsi soda cans full of palm oil to circle the earth at the equator four times. Put another way, the tropical land base needed to feed PepsiCo’s global appetite for palm oil, each year, is a quarter million acres of land, most of which used to be rainforest. Due to its size and influence, PepsiCo has a key role to play in halting the destruction of Indonesia’s forests--including The Leuser Ecosystem, a critically important, intact forest landscape on the island of Sumatra that continues to be bulldozed for palm oil.

Two years ago, Rainforest Action Network named PepsiCo as a member of the ‘Snack Food 20’ group of companies targeted by RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil campaign. A recent scorecard released by RAN demonstrates that half of these companies have responded to the campaign by taking sufficient enough steps towards eliminating deforestation, human rights violations and carbon pollution from their palm oil supply chains to be considered ‘front runners’ among their peers, but PepsiCo continues to lag behind. Many ‘front runners’ have adopted 2015 as the year to fully meet their palm oil commitments, while PepsiCo has only set 2020 as a deadline for achieving traceability to the plantation. RAN has singled out PepsiCo as the largest and most influential remaining laggard on the list.

 

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit:www.ran.org