Bakery Giant Grupo Bimbo Responds to Consumer Pressure; Leaves Laggards Behind and Adopts Responsible Palm Oil Commitment
Rainforest Action Network welcomes “step in right direction,” and calls on other companies to follow suit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989, firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco, CA––In the face of a two-year long public campaign, and more recent increased consumer pressure mounted against manufacturers of the popular brand Sara Lee––which includes the multinational bakery products manufacturer Grupo Bimbo, as well as Hillshire Brands––for the use of the controversial ingredient Conflict Palm Oil, Grupo Bimbo announced yesterday a new palm oil commitment.
The commitment includes strong provisions on upholding workers’ rights, which is a reflection of a growing concern over labor abuses, including forced labor and human trafficking, in the palm oil sector. Grupo Bimbo’s new commitment is also notable in that it requires compliance across its suppliers’ entire operations and goes beyond the requirements set forth by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which lack strong safeguards against deforestation and has a poor track record of upholding community or workers’ rights.
“We welcome this as a step in the right direction,” said Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director with Rainforest Action Network. “For communities, palm oil workers and forests in Indonesia, what matters now is that Grupo Bimbo puts this new commitment into swift action. The real work for Grupo Bimbo begins now.
“Consumers that use Sara Lee products are still at risk of Conflict Palm Oil, however, as Grupo Bimbo needs to put its commitment into action, and Hillshire Brands, also a maker of Sara Lee products, has yet to make an adequate commitment to remove Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain,” Tillack said.
RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil campaign, launched in the fall of 2013, calls on Grupo Bimbo and 19 other top snack food companies––dubbed the ‘Snack Food 20’––to address their use of Conflict Palm Oil connected to rainforest destruction, orangutan extinction, human rights violations and climate pollution.
Other Snack Food 20 companies have adopted ambitious deadlines to implement their palm oil commitments by year end, but Grupo Bimbo has not yet committed to a deadline for achieving compliance with its policy. RAN stands ready to work with Grupo Bimbo on an action plan to achieve rapid compliance across its suppliers’ entire operations and take focused action to address labor rights abuses and others risks in its supply chain.
For information more, see: http://www.ran.org/sf20scorecard
Indonesian firm BW Plantation’s (BWPT) $900M share rights offering rife with concerns over labour rights, wildlife and deforestation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161, Laurel@ran.org
Indonesian palm oil firm BW Plantation (BWPT) approved last week a USD $900 million share rights offering in a bid to finance its merger with Green Eagle Holdings (GEH). New stock not purchased by existing shareholders will be traded on the Jakarta Stock Exchange (IDX) from Monday December 8. Already lagging behind its competitors who have committed to zero deforestation policies, BWPT has failed to declare to investors the serious environmental, social and financial risks involved with deforesting and planting over its massive new land bank.
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has published an in-depth backgrounder/briefing document titled Conflict Palm Oil Case Study PT BW Plantation (BWPT) $900 Million Stock Offer Warning: Investors Need Greater Disclosure of Environmental, Social and Legal Risks.
The deal expands BWPT's holdings from just under 100,000 ha to over 400,000 ha, making it Indonesia’s third largest palm oil company listed on the IDX. However, 75% of the new land bank - with holdings in Papua, Sulewesi, West, East and South Kalimantan and Sumatra - is unplanted and likely includes large tracts of primary forests, Indigenous and local community lands, and areas of carbon-rich peatlands.
Tom Picken of Rainforest Action Network said, “The last thing Indonesia needs is a near-billion dollar injection of cash that will simply fuel Conflict Palm Oil production. We encourage potential investors to steer clear of this controversial deal until BWPT discloses the true extent of risks, and publicly commits to no deforestation, no exploitation, and no peatland expansion across its entire operations.
Publicly available information on GEH plantations should raise alarm bells for investors. A basic review of available satellite data and local media reports indicates aggressive clearance of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest since 2010, orangutans needing to be rescued from a Kalimantan concession two weeks ago, at least one case of serious labour rights violations this year in Papua, as well as a number of community conflicts.
Picken added, “BWPT is already failing to comply with its obligations under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) relating to new plantations. Adding the Green Eagle operations into the mix may seriously jeopardise BWPT’s eligibility to remain a member of RSPO at all, judging by the little information that is in the public domain highlighting numerous scandals in Green Eagle plantations.
“Aside from being a disaster in the making for the climate, local communities and the environment, this deal is a risky gamble for investors. That’s because this offering completely ignores the changing business climate. There has been a tide of deforestation-free commitments from major players in this arena recently, including BWPT’s two largest buyers of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) -- Wilmar International and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), which make up almost half of BWPT’s sales. Unless BWPT gets into line with these improved palm oil standards, then it will lose its biggest clients while investors could see their stock plunge.”
RAN briefing finds pending $900 million deal threatens forests, peatlands and communities across Indonesia.
Indonesian palm oil firm BW Plantation (BWPT) approved last week a USD $900 million share rights offering in a bid to finance its merger with Green Eagle Holdings (GEH). New stock not purchased by existing shareholders will be traded on the Jakarta Stock Exchange (IDX) from Monday December 8.
RAN released a briefing note, available here, on the controversial deal today, alerting investors to poorly disclosed Conflict Palm Oil risks.
The deal expands BWPT's holdings from just under 100,000 ha to over 400,000 ha, propelling it into the rank of Indonesia’s third largest palm oil company listed on the IDX. However, 75% of the new land bank - with holdings in Papua, Sulewesi, West, East and South Kalimantan and Sumatra - is unplanted and includes large tracts of rainforests, Indigenous and local community lands, and areas of carbon-rich peatlands.
Tom Picken, Senior Advisor for Forests and Finance campaign work at RAN, notes, “The last thing Indonesia needs is a near-billion dollar injection of cash that will simply fuel further Conflict Palm Oil production. We encourage potential investors to steer clear of this controversial deal until BWPT discloses the true extent of risks, and publicly commits to no deforestation, no exploitation, and no peatland expansion across its entire operations.”
The briefing finds evidence of aggressive clearance of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest since 2010, orangutans needing to be rescued from a Kalimantan concession two weeks ago, at least one case of serious labour rights violations this year in Papua, as well as a number of community conflicts in the expanded holdings of the BWPT plantations group.
BWPT is already failing to comply with its obligations under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) relating to new plantations, much less meet the additional “no deforestation, no peatland expansion and no exploitation” criteria of its major customers.
Actions on the ground will tell the tale. For now, BWPT looks like the new bad boy on the block, making it an important target for intensified public scrutiny and accountability.
We launched a campaign to turn up the heat on Pepsico and its use of Conflict Palm Oil. The goal has been to takeover its darkly ironic #LiveForNow advertising campaign that encourages consumption while ignoring human rights abuses, land grabs, and deforestation. Supporters like you have been doing just that by tweeting pictures from events and anywhere they spot the logo of Pepsico’s flagship brand Pepsi, calling out the truth.
Our “#LiveForNow Shouldn’t Mean Destroying Tomorrow” site is built for people like you to use to crank up the pressure on PepsiCo. Pictures coming in from people across the US and the globe will make it clear to PepsiCo that our movement is building and we won’t stop until it ends its use of Conflict Palm Oil.
Remember, take a selfie with a Pepsi sign and tweet it out with the hashtag #LiveForNow and we’ll feature you on the site too!
We know your pressure is working. PepsiCo is one of the 5 laggards companies we called out in April who have refused to take effective steps to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil, but other companies are moving. This week, palm oil laggard Conagra Foods announced a new commitment to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil. Together we can push PepsiCo to do the right thing and fix the weaknesses in its Palm Oil Commitment. So keep up the pressure! Start now by sharing our spoof site with your friends and family on Twitter and Facebook.
On September 21, New York City will see the biggest climate march in history.
Be a part of it!
You know the deadly effects of climate change: more storms like Superstorm Sandy in New York, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. More droughts like the one right now in California, and fires like the ones that have been engulfing the Western U.S. every summer. Farmland drying up and sea levels rising, which means hunger and displacement for many of the world’s poorest people.
Now more than ever, we need to show decision-makers that climate change is a planetary emergency, and that we can't wait any longer for serious action to stop climate chaos. That's why next month, when President Obama and other world leaders gather for a crucial climate summit at the United Nations, the global climate movement will greet them with the largest climate march in history.
Are you in?
Rainforest Action Network will be there for this historic event for the global climate movement. We'll also be there to send an important message: to stabilize the climate, we have to challenge corporate power. We have to challenge PepsiCo to stop sourcing Conflict Palm Oil that’s destroying the rainforests that help to regulate our climate. We have to challenge TransCanada: they won’t build the Keystone XL pipeline on our watch.
You know that winning the fight against global warming means challenging corporations that put profit before people and the planet. And we need you to bring that message to the streets of New York.
This summit kicks off truly crucial series of meetings, with a real chance for binding international emissions targets by the end of 2015. We can’t afford business as usual -- and we know that’s exactly what our elected officials will deliver unless we show them we mean business. Let’s seize our chance to shape history.
Come be a part of it.
P.S. On September 21, the action goes well beyond New York City, with mobilizations across the country and around the world. Can’t make it to New York? Be part of an event near you.
On May 20, thousands of us united in a Global Day of Action to tell PepsiCo to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil. PepsiCo responded by announcing a Forestry Stewardship Policy and Palm Oil Commitment, but neither of these new promises are strong enough to guarantee that Pepsi’s use of palm oil is not driving rainforest destruction, species extinction and human and labor rights abuses.
PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world - the company uses enough palm oil every single year to fill Pepsi cans that would stretch around the Earth 4 times - but it has fallen out of step with its peers and still has no truly responsible palm oil purchasing policy.
Instead of cutting Conflict Palm Oil from its products, PepsiCo continues to push its darkly ironic #LiveForNow campaign. PepsiCo is telling people not to worry about climate change, the fate of the last wild orangutans and children that are forced to work in slave-like conditions on oil palm plantations and just #LiveForNow!
It’s our job to tell PepsiCo that #LiveForNow isn’t good enough. This summer we’re turning up the heat.
PepsiCo is pushing its #LiveForNow propaganda out through it’s “Real Big Summer” marketing campaign which includes Pepsi sponsored concerts and events across the US. We need YOU to crash Pepsi-sponsored events and deliver the message that #LiveForNow shouldn’t mean rainforest destruction, climate change and human rights abuses.
Because of you PepsiCo has made some progress. With your help we’ve convinced the snack food giant to go beyond just sourcing Roundtable on Sustainable Palm certified palm oil. However, PepsiCo’s policies lack a commitment to trace its palm oil back to the plantations where the oil palm fruit was grown and to verify that its suppliers operations are free of forced and child labor, conflicts with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and clearance of rainforests and peatlands. It also lacks a time bound action plan, so it’s hard for its consumers to know what steps it will take to clean up its palm oil supply chain.
This isn’t good enough. PepsiCo must adopt a policy that is inline with what forests, the people that rely on them and our planet need and demand that its suppliers, like Cargill, do the same.
With your help we’ll convince the global snack food giant to take the steps that will guarantee that its products - like Quaker Oats and Frito-Lay Chips - will be free of Conflict Palm Oil for good.
Help us turn up the heat on PepsiCo this summer. Sign up to let us know you’re in.