From Kuala Lumpur to San Francisco, Oslo to Cape Town, thousands of activists took a stand on May 20th with their friends, colleagues and families to write their own stories for the future of our food system and our planet. Our demand, a food system without Conflict Palm Oil, is bold, ambitious and urgently needed. Because of your willingness to stand up and demand action, we are driving change through the palm oil supply chain.
Thanks to you, the May 20th Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil was a tremendous success. The stories of actions across the globe are inspiring and the numbers impressive: Over 100 events took place in the US, 38 events were hosted abroad and 700 people said they would attend events around the world. Online, PepsiCo heard from thousands of you—its Facebook pages were flooded, its phone lines filled, and the #InYourPalm message was spread far and wide. The photos from Tuesday’s actions are moving; check out the photo album on our Facebook page (and tag yourself if you're in one)!
For over a year, PepsiCo has refused to adopt a responsible palm oil policy, but just 2 days before the Global Day of Action the snack food giant released a new commitment. It’s not strong enough yet, but it’s a start. Thanks to the powerful work, commitment and creativity that Palm Oil Activists poured into the Day of Action, PepsiCo knows that we won’t back down until it cuts Conflict Palm Oil from its global product lines once and for all.
As I think about what we’re accomplishing, a quote about movements like the one that we are building from from one of my heroes, Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy, keeps coming to mind:
“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
Because of you, we are close to a tipping point in our campaign to cut Conflict Palm Oil. Together we are transforming the policies of one of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world as well as shifting the paradigm for how palm oil companies operate in Indonesia.Thank you for joining us in demanding healthy, intact rainforests, a world without slave labor and a future in which unique species like elephants and orangutans are thriving.
A special thanks to the Palm Oil Action Team, our group of super activists who were the first to step up and take action online, volunteer to host events, and to help organize the Day of Action. Our movement is getting stronger. You too can step up and join the Palm Oil Action Team here.
Today, our Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil is sweeping the world, ratcheting up the pressure for PepsiCo to break its ties to deforestation, human rights abuses and climate pollution. A moment ago, RAN unfurled a massive 60 foot banner exposing the impacts of Conflict Palm Oil at the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago.
From the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia to cities across Australia and the UK, to the beaches of San Francisco and Brazil, students, families and ordinary people have organized themselves in droves today to send a clear and united message to PepsiCo and its peers: the time to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products is now.
PepsiCo is scrambling—the fact that the snack food giant released a new palm oil commitment just a few days ago is evidence of this. But, it’s not strong enough and lacks safeguards on human rights and a binding, time bound action plan to cut Conflict Palm Oil. NOW is the time to give PepsiCo the final push for real change for forests and the communities that depend on them. We have PepsiCo's attention.
Now here's how we win:
1. Let’s take over Pepsi’s Facebook page. Cut and paste this message as a comment: #PepsiCo, cut Conflict Palm Oil! The power is #InYourPalm. http://a.ran.org/ad
2. Let’s make our voice heard on Twitter: Hey @PepsiCo, I can’t stand by brands that use Conflict #PalmOil. The power is #InYourPalm
3. Let’s talk to the people who represent PepsiCo: (+1)(914) 253-2000 Here is a guide to what you can say: “Hi, my name is [your name]. I’m taking part in the Global Day of Action. It concerns me that your company cannot guarantee that it is not using Conflict Palm Oil in its products. PepsiCo must demand responsible palm oil from its suppliers and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products. PepsiCo’s taken a step in the right direction by releasing a new palm oil commitment, but a statement of intent is not the same as a binding, time bound responsible palm oil policy. For PepsiCo to meet consumer expectations, it must adopt an action plan to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products that includes full traceability of palm oil back to its source and independently verified safeguards for human rights, forests and peatlands.Thank you”
Because of YOU we have built a movement to cut Conflict Palm Oil from our food supply. We're just getting warmed up—thanks for being a part of this.
I recently heard Jane Goodall speak about the importance of having hope in a time when our planet’s natural systems teeter on the brink of collapse. She compared climate change to a titanic ship that takes a while to build up momentum, but once it gains speed, it may be too huge and too fast to turn to avoid the iceberg in its path. We’re currently on that ship - all of humanity, together. Which means that our children’s future depends on the choices you and I make today. We can either quickly respond to the signs all around us that point to climate catastrophe and jump on board this “all hands on deck” moment to stop climate change or we can idly stand by and watch our ship sink.
As a new mom, slowing climate change by protecting our tropical forests – the largest greenhouse gas storage tank in the world -- and transforming our broken industrial food system, is more important and more personal to me than ever before. There is nothing like the love and fierce protection a mother feels for her children, which is why in honor of Mother’s Day I am taking matters into my own hands to fight for the world that my son will inherit, starting in my own kitchen.
How can I tackle climate change from my very own kitchen, you may ask? By joining the Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil on May 20.
Our food and our climate are inextricably linked. About 75% of global palm oil is used in food products and cooking, and roughly 90% of it is grown in Indonesia & Malaysia, where the scale of destruction is so large that it is having globally significant impacts on the climate, similar in scale to the world’s biggest coal and tar sands projects. Deforestation in Indonesia is responsible for some 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the combined emissions from all the millions of cars, trucks, trains, and buses in the U.S. each year combined.
Are you feeding your family Conflict Palm Oil? It’s a hidden ingredient in the foods most of us are feeding our families every day that is enslaving children, killing endangered orangutans, and destroying the rainforest. America's snack makers are putting Conflict Palm Oil in everything from baby formula to kids’ snacks, and Rainforest Action Network has put them on notice that this practice must stop.
Take, for instance, PepsiCo - the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world. PepsiCo is the biggest and most influential of the Snack Food 20 companies that has yet to take steps to address its Conflict Palm Oil problem. PepsiCo has the power to break the link between the products you buy and rainforest destruction, but they won’t until you, the consumer, demand it.
Moms and Dads, in honor of Mother’s day, will you join me in asking one of the largest makers of kids snacks, PepsiCo, to do the right thing and cut Conflict Palm Oil from the food we’re feeding our families every day? We have a powerful voice. Pepsi will listen if we speak! There is a way to get palm oil that doesn't enslave children and make orangutans extinct.
Working together, we have the power to win a tremendous victory for people and the planet by challenging business as usual and forcing the palm oil industry to respect the rights of workers and communities, protect orangutan habitat and the rainforests that play a crucial role in combating climate change. We can break the link between deforestation, human rights violations and the foods our families eat everyday.
On May 20, mothers, fathers, teachers, and youth around the world will be hosting photo actions around the globe, calling on PepsiCo to cut Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain. We believe that the power is #InYourPalm and when you speak PepsiCo will have no choice but to listen. This is why we are asking everyone to host an action that includes the words #InYourPalm. All you have to do is take a photo of your action so we can send it to PepsiCo and demand change. With your help, these actions can be a catalyst for change at PepsiCo and throughout the entire snack food industry.
These actions may be big or small, in parks, on college campuses, homes, or at Pepsi branded locations around the world. They will each be unique, but they'll have a two things in common: they will include #InYourPalm in some way, shape or form and will connect local activists around the globe who are united in a goal to end rainforest destruction and human rights violations caused by the production of Conflict Palm Oil for PepsiCo's snacks foods.
Will you join me? Together we can convince PepsiCo to prioritize the future of our children and cut Conflict Palm Oil to save orangutans from extinction!
My name is Ratri Kusumohartono, and I've traveled here from Indonesia to bring the story of palm oil to the top executives of PepsiCo at the company's annual shareholder meeting. I work for Sawit Watch, which means “Palm Oil Watch” in Indonesian. We are one of Indonesia's leading palm oil advocacy groups, working directly with palm oil laborers who are fighting for decent working conditions and local communities who are resisting or who have lost their forest and livelihoods to large-scale oil palm expansion.
Palm oil expansion isn’t just about deforestation and ecosystems; it’s also having a huge impact on the communities that live here. I've seen these impacts on communities and workers first hand. Last year, I travelled to a palm oil plantation in East Kalimantan to see if workers were being treated fairly. I was faced with a stark reality. I met a 16 year old boy, Jaka, who had been working in the plantation for over two years. At 14, Jaka left his hometown because he was given false promises of a high salary and good living and working conditions. After traveling over a thousand miles by boat, plane and bus to arrive at the plantation, Jaka found a very different reality than what he was promised. But by the time he realized he had been deceived, he was trapped in debt to the labor recruiter, far from home, and the company did not even provide an adequate supply of clean water and food. The conditions were so poor that Jaka had to drink and bathe from the trench where the plantation’s waste runs.
This is why Conflict Palm Oil is able to be sold so cheaply to snack food companies like PepsiCo. 14 year old boys like Jaka are bearing the real costs of palm oil production. This is not OK, it has to stop.
Please, stand with me, with Jaka, and with all of the affected communities whose homes and lands are threatened, who have had their land stolen in land grabs, or worse, have suffered violence and injury at the hands of the palm oil companies.
Jaka is not alone. His story is only one example of the exploitation and devastation that Conflict Palm Oil is causing for communities, workers and forests across Indonesia. PepsiCo needs to adopt a global responsible palm oil policy that requires all the palm oil it sources to be fully traceable, legally grown, and free of deforestation, peatland destruction and human and labor rights violations.
The message below comes to you from Rudi Putra, a longtime ally and hero of RAN’s and winner of the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize—the world’s most prestigious award for grassroots environmental activism.
My name is Rudi and I feel like the luckiest person alive. I grew up in a place teeming with wild orangutans, elephants, tigers, sunbears and Sumatran rhinos. My family and I lived in balance with the mountains, forests and rivers surrounding us. From an early age, I knew I had to take care of the beauty that surrounded me. But as huge multi-national companies expand their reach and palm plantations spread, I know that I can't protect these pristine places alone.
I have worked much of my life to protect the 6.4 million acres of prime tropical rainforests in the Leuser Ecosystem. I fell in love with the Sumatran rhino, the smallest and the most critically endangered rhino of all—and have spent years tracking, researching and protecting these special creatures from poachers. I have left my home in Indonesia to come to yours to deliver a very important message.
I have witnessed vast areas of forests destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations, forests I knew were the homes of endangered species. I’ve removed traps from the forest corridors used by the last Sumatran elephants and tigers. I have even found animals poisoned, speared, and burned alive by poachers and plantation workers. And still, the plantations keep growing across Aceh, always feeding the demand for Conflict Palm Oil.
It must stop. We must protect the world's rainforests. We must stop powerful and wealthy international corporations from exploiting and destroying irreplaceable Indonesian ecosystems for profit. My community and I work tirelessly to shut down and destroy illegal palm oil plantations inside the federally protected Leuser Ecosystem, using chainsaws and uprooting illegal oil palms. We do this to protect our families from the floods that result from the destruction of the forests on the hillsides that surround our homes. But we can not do this alone. We need your help.
It is with great honor that I am here in the US and receiving the Goldman Prize. But it is an even greater honor to know that YOU will stand with me and hold PepsiCo to account for the impact of its products.
For the rhino’s and our life,
RAN supported Rudi’s work with a small grant through our Protect-an-Acre program, which funds projects led by Indigenous and frontline communities around the world fighting to protect millions of acres of forest and keep millions of tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, while defending their right to self-determination.
This week marks an exciting turning point in the ambitious international effort to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil connected to rainforest destruction, human rights abuses and climate pollution from our food supply. Thanks to the hard work and consumer pressure created by RAN supporters and our allies - that’s you, dear reader - the palm oil industry as a whole is finally on the move. Several of the “Snack Food 20” companies that RAN put on notice a year ago about their Conflict Palm Oil problem, including Mars, Kellogg, and General Mills have recently responded by strengthening their palm oil commitments, policies and sourcing practices.
This is huge.
But PepsiCo - the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world and the most influential of the Snack Food 20 companies yet to take action to address its Conflict Palm Oil problem – remains a major laggard falling further and further behind its peers.
PepsiCo is a global consumer of Conflict Palm Oil for its snack food brands in the US, Mexico, Latin America, Asia and Europe, yet it still has no truly responsible palm oil purchasing policy. This means while PepsiCo consumes more than 450,000 metric tons of palm oil annually, the company cannot ensure its customers that its products do not contain Conflict Palm Oil. Which is why today, PepsiCo is being singled out for its continued use of large quantities of Conflict Palm Oil by a wide range of groups that includes Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously project, Rainforest Action Network, the global consumer watchdog group SumOfUs.org and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
RAN’s very own Lafcadio Cortesi appears in the premiere episode of Showtime’s dramatic new climate series, where he walks Harrison Ford down the aisle of an American grocery store and explains how Conflict Palm Oil is destroying Indonesia’s forests and peatlands while displacing Indigenous communities. At the end of the second episode of this star studded show, viewers are directed to the Years of Living Dangerously website where PepsiCo is targeted for its outsized role contributing to deforestation. Showtime viewers are invited to call out PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi to publicly respond to the question: “Deforestation from palm oil is a leading driver of climate change. How can you ensure your customers that your supply chains do not contribute to this ongoing problem?” With this kind of exposure, now is the time for us to raise our voices together and make sure that PepsiCo hears from every one of us.
The global palm oil industry is fast approaching a tipping point and PepsiCo’s global scale and influence gives it a crucial role to play in finally eliminating Conflict Palm Oil from our food supply. We've got PepsiCo’s attention, and we know the company is feeling the heat. Now it is crucial that we increase the pressure to push PepsiCo over the edge to take a stand for the climate, orangutans, the rainforest, and the families who live and work there.
Thank you for your vital support - we cannot win this important, high stakes fight without you.
Key PepsiCo Facts and Statistics:
Annually, PepsiCo uses enough palm oil to fill Pepsi cans that would reach around the earth 4 times.
Annual Revenue: $65.5 billion in 2012 (50% from international)
Chairman and CEO: Indra K. Nooyi
Countries of Operation: PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world. Sold in over 200 countries; Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Africa
Biggest use of palm oil: Mexico, 40% of PepsiCo’s palm oil use
Total Global Annual Palm Oil Usage (2013): 457,200 metric tons
Known Palm Oil Suppliers: PepsiCo sources palm oil products originating in SE Asia from Cargill, Wilmar, and AarhusKarlshamn (AAK) and originating from plantations in southeast Mexico (Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz) and Guatemala from Oleofinos of Mexico.
Regions of Impact: The top 3 countries where PepsiCo sources its palm oil from are Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico.
Best Known PepsiCo Brands using palm oil globally: Frito-Lay including Lay’s and Cheetos, Chitato, Qtela and Gamesa.
Best Known PepsiCo products in the US using palm oil: Quakers Big Chewy Granola Bar, Quaker Oats Granola Bites, Quaker Oats Banana Nut Bread, Frito Lay Munchies Flaming Hot, Frito Lays Grandma’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies. Facts got you ticked off? Make sure you take action here.
Thanks to your hard work and consumer pressure, the palm oil industry is on the move. Several of the Snack Food 20 companies we are targeting have already committed to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from their supply chain, or are in the process of doing so. But 5 of the biggest players are still dragging their feet. While they do, the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia continue to burn. We've got their attention, and we know that Pepsi, Kraft, Campbell's, Heinz and ConAgra are feeling the heat. But so far, they have all refused to act.
Now is the time to increase the pressure and push these companies to take a stand for orangutans, the rainforest, and the families who live and work there. That’s why we’re organizing a Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil on May 20. Add your name here and say you’re in!
We are very close to the tipping point. Working together, we have the power to transform our broken food system, force the palm oil industry to respect the rights of workers and forest communities, and protect the rainforest homes of the last wild orangutans. Click here to tell us you’re in, and a RAN staffer or volunteer will be in touch in the coming weeks about taking action!
This article originally appeared on onegreenplanet.org.
Now that we’ve added trans fats to the list of ingredients to look for—and avoid—on supermarket labels, and the FDA is poised to ban them from the food supply altogether, we’re good, right? Not so fast, warns Dr. Andrew Weil, America’s leading expert in integrative medicine. Conflict Palm Oil is often used to replace those artery-clogging trans fats. Because palm oil is solid at room temperature, it makes a good substitute. But is it actually healthy?
According to Dr. Weil, “Fresh palm fruit oil, sometimes called ‘red palm oil,’ is a nutritious and beneficial oil. However, it’s important not to confuse this raw oil with palm kernel oil, or the highly processed versions of crude palm oil that are commonly used as ingredients in the industrially produced packaged foods found in most Americans’ diets. These types of palm oil are unhealthy for the human body. And their irresponsible cultivation in tropical areas is unhealthy for the planet.”
Dr. Weil joins a chorus of voices expressing concern that, when it comes to replacing trans fats, we may be jumping out of the frying pan and into the deep fryer. The World Health Organization; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service all recommend against consuming palm oil and other tropical oils because of their high content of artery-clogging saturated fats.
Beyond the health issue, environmentalists and human rights activists are concerned that the FDA ban on trans fats will lead to a repeat of the mistakes companies made ten years ago when the FDA mandated the labeling of trans fats. That mandate led to a 500 percent increase in demand for Conflict Palm Oil, which is produced in ways that cause large-scale rainforest destruction and human rights abuses. In fact, palm oil can now be found in roughly half the packaged food products sold in grocery stores. It is added to teething biscuits, baby formula, granola bars, peanut butter, crackers, you name it. When we feed our kids food that comes out of a bag, a box, or a package of any kind, chances are they’re eating palm oil.
As a mom, I’m pleased to see the FDA taking steps to eliminate an ingredient from our food supply that is unhealthy for my family. But as a palm oil campaigner for Rainforest Action Network (RAN), I know that replacing trans fats with Conflict Palm Oil won’t do much for people’s health and will cause dire consequences for the planet. In fact, not one of the nation’s top 20 snack food manufacturers can ensure that their products do not contain Conflict Palm Oil.
I know that my baby boy would never forgive me if I told him that the hidden ingredient in his teething biscuits were the reason he’d never be able to see an orangutan in the wild. That’s why I’m so passionate about RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil campaign to pressure the Snack Food 20* group of companies to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from their products. And I’m pleased to report that it is working. A few months ago, palm oil mega-giant Wilmar International—which controls 45 percent of the global trade in palm oil—adopted a conflict-free palm oil policy. On Valentine’s day, Kellogg released a strengthened palm oil purchasing commitment, joining industry peers Nestle, Unilever, and Ferrero. But we’re still waiting for several other kids’ snack makers to step up to the plate, including Kraft, PepsiCo, Heinz, Campbell Soup, ConAgra Food, and Cargill.
So, what can you do to make a difference?
1) Keep reading labels. Palm Oil goes by many names, including Palm Kernel Oil, Palmitate, and Glyceryl Stearate. You’ll be amazed how ubiquitous it is, once you learn to recognize its many names.
2) Read RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil report. It outlines the health, human, and environmental impacts of this destructive product and lays out exactly what we are asking shoppers and companies to do to eliminate it.
3) Take action online. Tell the Snack Food 20: Don’t replace trans fats with Conflict Palm Oil. Thanks to the support of RAN activists and allies, we are making progress and gaining traction. But we’ll need to keep pushing to reach the tipping point. I am convinced that you all can provide the additional momentum we’ll need to remove Conflict Palm Oil from our food supply.
*The “Snack Food 20″ group of companies are 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.; Nestle. S.A.; Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd.; PepsiCo, Inc.; The Hershey Company; The J.M. Smucker Company; Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.; and Unilever.
We have great news—your actions are delivering REAL victories for rainforests. After nearly a year of negotiations, Mars has announced that it will only source palm oil from companies that are not destroying rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands or causing human rights abuses!
Even better, Mars has set a deadline that its suppliers must meet to keep its business. The company is demanding that its suppliers, like Cargill, adopt the same strong commitments and only supply it with responsible palm oil. If Cargill fails to fall in line, it will be dropped as a supplier. This is what driving transformation in a supply chain truly means.
This would not have happened without all of the wonderful RAN activists who have taken action. Your letters to Mars on Valentine’s Day, phone calls, posts, tweets and, for some, your visit with Strawberry the orangutan to Mars headquarters made this possible. We exposed Conflict Palm Oil in Mars' supply chain and today the family-run company has taken the first step to deal with its Conflict Palm Oil problem. Now it's time for Mars to move beyond words with a thorough and rapid implementation plan for removing Conflict Palm Oil from its products.
Getting Mars on board is another step forward for Indonesia and Malaysia’s rainforests and the people and wildlife that call them home. The brands we’re taking on are huge, but it’s you and your friends that have the real power. It’s because of you that we have power in the negotiation room and are winning!
In the face of growing criticism over their use of Conflict Palm Oil, a number of the Snack Food 20 companies have taken action. Mars, Nestle, Unilever, Kellogg and Mondelez are all delivering the same message to their suppliers, like Cargill. The writing is on the wall: Cargill needs to get in line with other traders like Wilmar International and Golden Agri Resources (GAR) who have set new benchmarks for responsible palm oil production and trade or risk losing some of its most important customers.
We’re winning—now there's one more thing to do to help turn this commitment into real action. Post this message on Mars' Facebook wall: Hey Mars, thanks for stepping up to protect rainforests and people from Conflict Palm Oil. We need Mars to put its words into action with a thorough and rapid implementation plan for removing Conflict Palm Oil from its products. The power is #InYourPalm. We’re on a roll and we have big plans that we’ll share with you very, very soon.