By any measure, 2014 was a turning point in the international movement to reform the notoriously destructive palm oil industry. Many of the sector’s biggest players announced groundbreaking, globally responsible palm oil commitments and pledged to eliminate forest and peatland destruction, human rights abuses, forced and child labor and climate pollution from their palm oil supply chains. At the same time, major corporate laggards, which have so far failed to keep pace with their peers and raise their palm oil policies to the new global benchmark for responsible palm oil production, need to get moving.
The Snack Food 20 laggards who have failed to put adequate policies and procurement practices in place, and are almost certainly using Conflict Palm Oil, are Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Kraft Foods Group, Nissin Foods, Hillshire Brands Company, Grupo Bimbo, H.J. Heinz Company, Campbell Soup Company, Hormel, Unilever and PepsiCo.
We need to convince each of these laggards to adopt a time-bound and truly responsible global palm oil procurement policy, which requires fully traceable, legally produced palm oil, and eliminates sourcing from companies which are destroying rainforests or carbon-rich peatlands, stealing community lands or violating human and workers’ rights.
Send your message now: Tell the laggards that you won't have deforestation, extinction or slavery in your home.
In 2013, we launched the campaign to cut Conflict Palm Oil from America’s snack foods. The good news is that with your help we are achieving real changes from many major companies, proving that not only is it possible for companies to change, but that people-powered pressure works to bring this change about.
The damage caused by Conflict Palm Oil is tremendous. Deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations threatens unique and priceless areas like the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia. It threatens species like the Sumatran rhino, orangutans, and sun bears. The impact on communities who are forced off their land or pushed into forced and child labor is simply unacceptable.
Despite the last year’s progress, there are still some critical companies that are refusing to take action to address their Conflict Palm Oil problem. One of the worst offenders in the Conflict Palm Oil world - who is also one of biggest makers of popular kid’s snacks - won’t even acknowledge the destruction it's causing.
PepsiCo is a major Conflict Palm Oil laggard, dragging its feet, refusing to admit it even has a problem. With a whopping 457,200 metric tons of palm oil used annually in snacks like Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, Cheetos and Lay's potato chips, PepsiCo has a huge impact on the planet, the forests, and the people and animals which call them home.
Send your message here: Tell PepsiCo you won't have deforestation, extinction, or slavery in your home.
Tell the Snack Food 20: Cut Conflict Palm Oil, Not Rainforests
In rainforests half a world away from the United States, orangutans are making their last stand for survival. Scientists warn that these gentle and intelligent animals, among humankind’s closest kin, could become extinct within our lifetime if their rainforest homes continue to be destroyed for palm oil plantations. But the primary threat pushing them toward extinction lies much closer to home than you may think: you’ll find it hidden in the snack food aisle of your local grocery store, and likely in your own shopping cart.
When you eat food that comes out of a bag, a box, or a package of any kind, chances are you are eating palm oil. It is added to chocolate, turned into fry oil, and snuck into snacks of all sorts—in fact, it can now be found in roughly half the packaged food products sold in grocery stores. This palm oil comes at a terrible human and environmental cost. Skyrocketing demand has driven massive, industrial palm oil plantations into millions of acres of formerly lush rainforest habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia, worsening climate change and causing widespread human rights violations.
This report announces the launch of an ambitious new national campaign by Rainforest Action Network (RAN ) called “The Last Stand of the Orangutan.” This campaign exposes the dark secret of conflict palm oil in the U.S. snack food industry and calls on companies to adopt responsible palm oil policies and commit to only using traceable palm oil that is free of deforestation, expansion on carbon-rich peatlands and human rights violations.
RAN ’s carefully selected “Snack Food 20” group of companies are named here publicly for the first time. This report assesses the palm oil purchasing commitments and policies of each of these influential corporations and spells out the critical role they have in reforming the destructive practices widely associated with palm oil production.
The “Snack Food 20” group of companies—Campbell Soup Company; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc.; General Mills, Inc.; Grupo Bimbo; Hillshire Brands Company; H.J. Heinz Company; Hormel Foods Corporation; Kellogg Company; Kraft Food Group, Inc.; Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Corp.; Mars Inc.; Mondelez International, Inc.; Nestlé S.A.; Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd.; PepsiCo, Inc.; The Hershey Company; The J.M. Smucker Company; Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.; and Unilever—manufacture a wide range of popular snack foods in the United States and abroad that contain conflict palm oil.
While some companies are beginning to take steps to address their palm oil problem, none have yet adopted and fully implemented adequate safeguards to eliminate conflict palm oil from entering their supply chains and contaminating their products. These big, global food companies have the power, through their supply chains, to drive a transformation in the way palm oil is now commonly produced. Increased consumer and citizen pressure on these companies is a key ingredient for success.
Working together with our families, friends, and allies, we will hold these companies to account and push them to eliminate conflict palm oil from their products. We will work with them to adopt and implement responsible palm oil procurement policies that ensure the palm oil they buy is not associated with deforestation, child or forced labor, plantation expansion on carbon-rich peatlands, or violations of forest-dependent communities’ rights.
The fate of the orangutan, forest peoples, and some of the world’s most rich and important rainforests hang in the balance.
CONFLICT PALM OIL
Are your cookies causing orangutan extinction?
We may not be able to see it, but Conflict Palm Oil has become ubiquitous in our everyday lives. It is found in roughly half the packaged products sold in US grocery stores, including favorite snack foods like ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, cereals, doughnuts and potato chips. In fact, palm oil is likely present in some form in nearly every room of your home.
Demand for palm oil is skyrocketing worldwide. The recent spike in use by the US snack food industry is due in large part to Conflict Palm Oil being used as a replacement for controversial trans fats. The oil is extracted from the fruit of oil palms native to Africa, now grown primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Conflict Palm Oil production is now one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction. Unchecked expansion is pushing new plantations deep into the heart of some of the world’s most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems. Irreplaceable wildlife species like the Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Elephant and the Sumatran and Borneo orangutan are being driven to the brink of extinction.
But Conflict Palm Oil is not only a local problem. The clearing of rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands for new plantations is releasing globally significant carbon pollution, making Conflict Palm Oil a major driver of human induced climate change.
Palm oil production is also responsible for human rights violations as corporations often forcefully remove Indigenous Peoples and rural communities from their lands. Tragically, child labor and modern day slavery still occur on plantations in both Indonesia and Malaysia.
Is this really the price we should have to pay for our snack food? Of course not. We must stop Conflict Palm Oil in its tracks. That’s why Rainforest Action Network is fighting back, putting pressure on 20 of the most well known food companies in the world, the Snack Food 20, to get Conflict Palm Oil off the shelves right now.
United as customers and citizens, we’re telling brands that orangutans and the forests they live in are worth more than the pennies they’re saving. We are demanding that they commit to only using responsible palm oil produced without causing the destruction of rainforests, carbon rich peatlands or the abuse of human rights.
The crisis caused by Conflict Palm Oil is urgent and the stakes are high. Luckily, there is something you can do about it. Join us as we take on the Snack Food 20 and win!