The risks associated with palm oil cultivation, such as rainforest destruction, climate change, species extinction, and human rights abuse continue to plague the tropical countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. These countries are host to some of the world’s most vital rainforests, and are also where close to 90% of the world’s palm oil is grown. Thus, unsurprisingly, the devastation caused by palm oil cultivation in these countries has been colossal.
Eliminating Conflict Palm Oil from snack food products has been an on-going mission at RAN, and we are elated to report that our fight for the cause has gained some serious momentum. In July, after over 7 years of consistent pressure from RAN and our supporters, Cargill, the largest importer of palm oil into the United States, announced a new commitment to remove Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain. Although a robust implementation plan is missing and other gaps need to be addressed, this monumental breakthrough was realized in large part due to the persistent pressure generated by the actions of RAN’s Palm Oil Action Team (POAT).
Along with Cargill, some of the Snack Food 20 companies are also taking steps towards adopting responsible palm oil procurement policies. Most recently, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Dunkin’ Brands have adopted new commitments to cut Conflict Palm Oil. However, to ensure these commitments are properly implemented, we must continue to closely watch how these companies proceed and continue to put pressure on the Snack Food 20 laggards - companies who have yet to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil, or have presented inadequate policies, such as PepsiCo.
Some highlights from the field - examples of ways the POAT has generated pressure on PepsiCo to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil:
September 9, 2014: Three POAT moms delivered 350,000+ petitions from people in 122 countries to PepsiCo’s global HQ in White Plains, NY asking that the company fix the gaps in it’s inadequate Forest Stewardship Policy and palm oil policy.
August 21, 2014: RAN launched a spoof PepsiCo website featuring hundreds of activists in the field jamming Pepsi’s own darkly ironic message by doing “#LiveForNow shouldn’t mean destroying tomorrow!” photo actions in front of key PepsiCo facilities, events, and products
May 20, 2014: Over 100 Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil events took place in the US, 38 events were hosted abroad and over 700 people attended events around the world. Online, PepsiCo’s Facebook pages were flooded, its phone lines filled, and the #InYourPalm message was spread far and wide across the globe.
Join the POAT to help us escalate pressure on PepsiCo, the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world! As consumers, it is important that we demand that the products we purchase aren't contributing to the destruction of rainforests and peatlands, or the violation of human rights, including the use of child labor.
It is crucial that PepsiCo and all the Snack Food 20 companies can demonstrate to their customers where the palm oil it purchases was grown and that it is not associated with the dire impacts of Conflict Palm Oil in Indonesia and Malaysia. If these corporations want to be leaders in combating climate change they must strengthen their palm oil commitment and immediately stop sourcing palm oil from companies that are destroying the forest ecosystems and peatlands that help mitigate climate change.
Our movement is powerful and many of the Snack Food 20 companies are listening, but there is still work to be done! Our voices alone will not instigate change. We need your help to truly mobilize reform, so become a member of our Palm Oil Action Team and join the movement by taking action to help put an end to deforestation, human rights violations, species endangerment, and climate change.
Already a member of the Palm Oil Action Team and looking for resources? Here's some of our most useful pieces.
The Case Against Palm Oil: Fact Sheet
Frequently Asked Questions about Palm Oil
Grocery Store Cheat Sheet
Shout Out Toolkit: A Guide to Talking About Palm Oil