Pages tagged "Forests"


Tell Quaker: A few extra pennies to save Orangutans

This morning two dozen activists stormed a grocery store in San Francisco to convince Quaker, and its parent company PepsiCo, to cut Conflict Palm Oil.

The activists re-branded shelves displaying Quaker brand items to warn customers that Quaker products may contain Conflict Palm Oil. We need your help to amplify this call to action!

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Activists storm a grocery store in San Francisco, calling for an end to Conflict Palm Oil in Quaker brand products.

PepsiCo, and its brand Quaker, spends huge amounts of money on advertising every year, trying to convince moms and dads that Quaker is a brand that we can trust, yet they are unwilling to spend a few extra pennies to help save orangutans from extinction and keep children out of slave labor conditions.

Will PepsiCo fix the gaps in its palm oil commitment and take action to help save orangutans and keep children out of slave labor conditions? With your voice, it will.

Post a message on Quaker’s Facebook page today:
“Quaker, families don’t want to eat Conflict Palm Oil. Spend a few extra pennies on every package to cut Conflict Palm Oil, save orangutans from extinction and keep children out of slave labor conditions.”

After two years of people like you taking action, PepsiCo is finally starting to pay attention and its top decision makers are deciding now whether to actually address these problems. That is why YOUR voice is needed right now.

With your help we can generate a storm on Quaker’s Facebook page and drive home the message that now is the time for this snack food giant to cut Conflict Palm Oil once and for all.

Take a moment to raise your voice now.


Want to step up your game? Activists across the country are taking action in person at grocery stores across the U.S. Sign up here to join them and take your social activism into your community.


The Human Cost of Forest Fabrics

Behind the shiny exteriors and glossy magazine advertisements of American fashion brands hides some disturbing truths. Communities like those in Pandumaan-Sipituhuta in Northern Sumatra, featured in the short film below by Handcrafted Films, are being harmed by the production of clothing sold by big name companies like Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, and other companies in RAN’s ‘Fashion 15.’

The clothing we buy is driving the destruction of the forests of Pandumaan-Sipituhuta, and decimating the way the communities there have supported themselves for 17 generations.

Here’s how the destruction of benzoin forests in Indonesia becomes part of our clothing:image222.png 

We need to tell fashion companies that this sort of destruction is totally unacceptable. Some companies have already stepped up as leaders; H&M, Zara, Stella McCartney and others have already taken action and publically committed to eliminating rainforest destruction from their fabrics.

The Out of Fashion campaign is working for change on the ground in Pandumaan-Sipithuta, and to change the whole system. We need to tell fashion companies that they are responsible for their supply chains, and they must demand change at every level. For our Fashion 15, this means demanding changes from Toba Pulp Lestari (the producer), Sateri (the processor), and Royal Golden Eagle (the company that owns Sateri).

Click here to sign our petition, and to take the first step in ensuring that the clothing you buy isn’t destroying forests and communities  in Pandumaan- Sipithuta.


Brutal Murder in APP Plantation

Underlines the need to understand and address severe land conflicts and the disconnect between policy commitments and real change on the ground.

Last Friday afternoon, February 27th, Indra Pelani, a 22 year-old from Lubuk Mandarsah village, Nick Karim from Simpang Niam village, and a member of WALHI, a Indonesian environmental group, attempted to pass through a gated checkpoint on a road which cuts through an Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) acacia plantation in the district of Tebo, Jambi Province, on the island of Sumatra. Indra and Karim were on their way to to join a rice harvest and festival.

According to witnesses, several company security guards set on Indra, a prominent farmers’ union member, beat him brutally about the head and ignored pleas from others to stop. According to witnesses, while Nick ran to get help and call the police, Indra was abducted by the guards. By the time Karim returned with roughly 30 villagers a short time later, Indra was missing and the security officer on duty denied knowing anything about the incident.

Police in Tebo district were alerted and conducted a search Friday evening. Indra's body was discovered the next day in a swamp, roughly 400 meters from the road. Indra's feet and hands were bound with rope and his mouth stuffed with a t-shirt. His body showed signs of severe beating. After his body was taken to a hospital, a preliminary examination showed that Indra had been further brutalized and stabbed and is presumed to have died from the injuries.

This tragic incident occurred on the eve of a planned meeting of stakeholders with APP in Jakarta. The meeting was to review APP’s implementation of its public commitments to obtain Free, Prior and Informed Consent from local communities for new plantation developments, resolve land conflicts and provide remedy for past land and human rights violations. Given the current situation, Forest People’s Programme, RAN, Greenpeace, and other civil society representatives have suspended participation in APP’s stakeholder meetings until this case has been satisfactorily investigated and addressed. As of now, APP has responded by publicly condemning the murder and suspending employment of all suspects, pending further investigation.

APP is a company with a long track record of driving deforestation and social conflict through its expansion of pulp plantations across Indonesia. Under growing international pressure, in 2013 the company committed to reform itself through the adoption of new policies to uphold human rights and to halt further deforestation in its operations. Since the announcement of its new policies, APP has begun presenting itself as a global leader in social and environmental responsibility. This incident tragically underscores the disconnect between good intentions reflected by APP’s policy pronouncements and the realities of how communities are treated at the hands ofthe company and its contractors on the ground. It is now clearer than ever that in order to break the link between commodity production and human rights violations it will take much more than a new policy in order to transform the company culture.

Land conflict and human rights violations are widespread across not only APP’s concessions, but those of its competitor APRIL, and indeed many if not most pulp and oil palm plantations. This is due in large part to failures in government policy and poor forest governance as well as corruption and irresponsible action by the private sector. APP must not only work with authorities to secure justice for Indra Pelani and his family, it must prioritize changing the culture and behavior of the company, its suppliers and contractors at the field level and improve and scale up its efforts to resolve conflicts, meaningfully involving affected communities, civil society and government. Addressing the broader legacy of land conflict in Indonesia and preventing conflict in the future is going to require widespread reforms by both government and the private sector and robust engagement with and leadership by communities and civil society.

Customer and investors linked to conflict commodities have a vital role to play not only by prioritizing human rights and establishing and implementing safeguards, but also by actively engaging directly with the companies with whom they have relationships on these issues, requiring changes on the ground as a condition of business and by encouraging government reform and action. This tragic incident is a wake up call for paper and palm customers and investors about the importance of including strong human rights safeguards and reform expectations in their purchasing requirements, verification efforts and discussions with governments.

On March 9 2015 APP took a tangible first step in addressing its role in Indra Pelani’s murder. The company is suspending operations in the area and is disengaging with the security contractor involved in the case.


Unprecedented Coalition Issues Fair Labor Standards for Palm Oil Production

While activists have achieved great successes recently in raising the profile of palm oil as a controversial commodity responsible for tremendous environmental destruction, the too-often overlooked reality is that the palm oil industry is also rife with serious labor and human rights abuses, including widespread forced and child labor as well as the unacceptable exploitation of millions of workers across Indonesia and Malaysia.

To address the urgent need for systemic change, Rainforest Action Network has spent the last two years working closely with an unprecedented coalition of Indonesian and Malaysian labor advocacy groups and international NGOs to develop a set of fair labor standards for palm oil production.

A result of these efforts is the publication of a guide, Free and Fair Labor in Palm Oil Production: Principles and Implementation Guidance, being released publicly for the first time now. It is the first statement of principles produced by a diverse civil society network that specifically focuses on labor conditions in the palm oil sector. This detailed set of standards will now be delivered as a set of recommendations to help guide companies, plantation certification bodies and government regulators towards eliminating systemic abuses currently common throughout the palm oil industry.  

Throughout the long process of workshops and meetings that built consensus for these standards, participants shared heart-wrenching stories of severe health impacts from being forced to apply highly toxic chemical pesticides like paraquat, without proper protective equipment or training, especially among women. Workers spoke of widespread practices that include misleading and unethical labor recruitment, long grueling hours, unreasonable quotas, low wages, sub-standard housing conditions and a lack of access to basic necessities like clean drinking water, healthcare and education for children.

As more and more major players in the palm oil industry grapple with implementation of their recent No Exploitation, No Deforestation, No Peatlands commitments, it is crucial that labor voices are included as critical stakeholders in the process. Companies that produce, trade and source palm oil have a responsibility to do the work necessary to eliminate the pervasive labor abuses in their supply chains.

The principles and guidelines were based on the International Labor Organization’s core conventions and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Among the recommendations:

  • Eliminate of all forms of forced or compulsory labor;

  • Abolish the worst forms of child labor;

  • Respect freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining;

  • Provide all workers adequate protective equipment free of cost;

  • Provide adequate housing, water, medical, educational and welfare amenities and protective equipment free of cost for all workers;

  • Ban toxic, bio-accumulative pesticides;

  • Commit to reasonable working hours and progress toward payment of a living wage;

  • Practice ethical recruitment with no fees for workers or seizure of identity documents;

  • Establish a legitimate, accessible, and transparent grievance mechanism, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; and

  • Commit to meaningful transparency and disclosure of all plantation processes.

The guide was developed by a forum of experts and key stakeholders hosted by Humanity United and comprised of representatives of unions, workers organizations, NGOs, investors and philanthropic organizations from the U.S, Europe, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Partner organizations include: Federasi Serikat Perkerja Minamas, Finnwatch, Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia, Forest Peoples Programme, General Agriculture and Allied Workers Union of Liberia, Humanity United, HUTAN, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, International Labor Rights Forum, Land Empowerment Animals People, Link-AR Borneo, MONDIAAL-FNV, Malaysian Palm Oil NGO Coalition, OPPUK, Oxfam, Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific, Rainforest Action Network, Sabah Environmental Protection Association, Sawit Watch, SERBUNDO, Serikat Buruh Medan Independen, Serikat Buruh Mandiri Indonesia, Tenaganita, Trade Union Care Center, Verité, and Walk Free, as well as advisory support from CERES.

Please stick with us as we will need your support as the real work begins of implementing these standards into business as usual for the global palm oil industry!

You can view a full copy of the report, Free and Fair Labor in Palm Oil Production: Principles and Implementation Guidance here.

 


Quaker Oats: Not so wholesome after all

PepsiCo would have you believe that its brand Quaker Oats puts “wholesome goodness in everything we do.” We highly doubt that.

That Quaker Oats Chewy Bar in your child’s lunch? Well, we’re not sure if its full of wholesome goodness, but it certainly may be full of Conflict Palm Oil.

With your help, we’ll set the record straight. Share this video now on Facebook and Twitter to let other families know that there’s more in Quaker Oats than meets the eye.

PepsiCo, and its product line Quaker Oats, is a major user of Conflict Palm Oil. Conflict Palm Oil drives species extinction, human rights abuses, deforestation, and climate change, and is the cause of one of the world’s greatest environmental catastrophes.

PepsiCo, the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world, spends huge amounts of money on advertising every year, trying to convince moms and dads that Quaker Oats is a brand that we can trust, yet they are unwilling to spend a few extra pennies to help save orangutans from extinction and keep children out of slave labor conditions.

As a globally recognized brand with an immense international reach, PepsiCo’s weak commitments and half measures are unacceptable. As mothers and fathers, we watch the future develop before our eyes every day. We know that our kids deserve better.

PepsiCo needs to start taking this issue seriously and cut Conflict Palm Oil from its products now!

Help us hold PepsiCo accountable for their actions. We need you to tell PepsiCo that you won’t be fooled by its advertising, and will keep Conflict Palm Oil out of your cupboards.

Share this video now on Facebook and Twitter and tell PepsiCo, “You’re in a Time Out!”


The Oscars Fashion Police: Deforestation Edition

With the Oscars now behind us, Rainforest Action Network is doing some fashion policing of its own.

While all the nominees and winners looked fabulous, those gorgeous clothes can have a serious impact on forests and human rights. Controversial fabrics such as rayon, viscose, Tencel, lyocell, and modal are leaving their mark--not on the red carpet, but on endangered forests--and creating serious impacts for Indigenous communities.

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Congrats, Rosamund - but we're worried about how that dress was made...

 

In order to address this, luxury brands like Prada, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch and Vince need to do the right thing and take responsibility for the consequences caused by their clothing.

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Miles Teller had a great year with Whiplash - but forests worldwide did not.

 

That means stepping up with a forest friendly policy, one that traces the fiber used in their fabrics back to where it was grown, and eliminates suppliers found responsible for human rights abuses and deforestation - companies like Royal Golden Eagle Group and its subsidiaries like Sateri.

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Emma Stone freaked out over her Oscar nomination for Birdman. But what she may not know is that those clothes could be connected to the theft of Indigenous land for fabric production, and that's truly freaky. 

 

After thousands took action on social media last week, and hundreds of activists have been busy stickering clothing tags with deforestation warning labels across the country, luxury brands are starting to take notice.

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We're glad to see Michael Keaton again. Unfortunately, many forests are gone forever, pulped and turned into fabric by big fashion names like Ralph Lauren.

 

We need to keep the pressure on. It’s past time for these companies to make real commitments to eliminate controversy from their supply chains. Doing so would send a powerful message, and make a huge impact for forests and the people who depend on them.

Click here to add your voice and ask luxury companies to be leaders when it comes to forests and human rights. Join the campaign now.


Forest Team Volunteer at RAN (SF)

Protect endangered forests while learning valuable skills as a Rainforest Action Network Forest Team Volunteer in San Francisco!

Why volunteer with RAN?

  • Halt the destruction of our planet’s last ancient forests
  • Stop the oppression of Indigenous communities and forest peoples
  • Empower supporters and activists across the country to take action
  • Learn valuable skills such as campaign planning, research, grassroots organizing, time management, and much more.

What type of work will you be doing?

Working directly with our Forest Campaign Team on the Out of Fashion and Conflict Palm Oil campaigns, Forest Volunteers will develop organizing skills through a variety of different and fun activities, such as:

  • Phone organizing to engage RAN activists around the U.S. to participate in actions and tactics 
  • Participating in and/or organizing local (and fun!) creative actions, events and tactics
  • Supporting RAN staff in various projects including:
    • campaign organizing
    • research
    • mailings to supporters

We love it when our volunteers are working on projects that they are passionate about. If you have an idea or skill that you’d like to share with RAN, let us know about it.

What will you gain from this position?

As a RAN Forest Volunteer, you are given the opportunity to work directly with experienced campaigners and staff, participate in organizing and skills trainings led by staff, and gain hands-on-learning experience working in a non-profit office.

Because this is a volunteer position, your time commitment is completely up to you. Whether you are available twice a month or 10 hours per week, we are grateful for your support and commitment to RAN’s work. Once you sign up to be a Forest Team Volunteer, we will email you periodically to inform you of the different volunteer opportunities available--it’s then up to you to choose which activities to participate in.

Sign up now to be a RAN Forest Team Volunteer and we will inform you on how you can start participating! If you have any questions please email PalmOilAction@ran.org or OutofFashion@ran.org (please put Forest Team Volunteer in the subject line of your email). We look forward to working with you!


Forest Destruction for Fashion Week?

When Rainforest Action Network launched our latest campaign, Out of Fashion, last September, few knew about the ugly secret hiding in beautiful clothes from luxury designers. Since then, thousands of activists have taken action urging companies to cut this destructive habit and lead on forests and human rights. From pledging not to buy rainforest destruction for the holidays, to stickering the tags of big name clothing brands, RAN supporters are calling on the Fashion 15 to eliminate destruction from their supply chains and be leaders on forest protection.

This week, we’ve got a huge opportunity to help end deforestation and human rights abuses for fabric production, and we need your help.

This week is Fashion Week in New York, a time where the biggest luxury designers in the world come together to show off their new collections. It’s a big deal in the fashion world, and that makes it a key moment for our Out of Fashion Campaign. We need to make absolutely sure that part of the discussion and buzz around Fashion Week this year is not just about who’s wearing or showing what, but about how to avoid the devastating impacts that the production of rayon and other fabrics and clothing produced from wood fiber in the form of dissolving pulp is having on  forests and communities in places like Indonesia, Canada and Brazil.

Sign here and demand that clothing’s luxury brands lead the way on deforestation and exploitation-free fabric.

The impacts of fabrics made from dissolving pulp, made by companies like Royal Golden Eagle Group’s Sateri Ltd., have gone under the radar for years. It's time for the world's most fashionable brands to pay attention and be leaders. Luxury fashion shouldn’t come at the price of land stolen from Indigenous Peoples and the loss of endangered forests. Demand that high fashion not only sets the trends for style, but that it also demonstrates leadership on environmental and social issues in the materials it uses.

Add your voice. Together, we can move the fashion industry forward.


Want to double your impact right now? A small group of committed activists will be jamming fashion companies by taking action on social media all Fashion Week. We’ll be sending an email with a new target each day, so 6 quick actions total. Are you willing to join our group of rapid responders? Click here to join the fun.


PepsiCo needs a Time Out

Timeout.pngPepsiCo needs a Time Out.

Between now and the end of February, Palm Oil Activists around the world are putting PepsiCo in a Time Out until it cuts Conflict Palm Oil. Why a Time Out? PepsiCo is acting like a stubborn child - one who wants all the toys (or profits) but none of the responsibility. We need your help to hold PepsiCo to account.

PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world and is a major user of Conflict Palm Oil. PepsiCo’s continued unwillingness to take responsibility for the consequences of the palm oil in its supply chain is shocking. The company continues to fry its chips and fill its products with palm oil sourced from controversial, unknown plantations -- products like its Quaker Oats Chewy bars that end up in lunch boxes every day.

Thanks to your hard work and consumer pressure, our campaign on PepsiCo is building momentum. But the forests are still falling and we are not there yet. Tropical rainforests, endangered wildlife and exploited laborers need PepsiCo to start taking this issue seriously and to take immediate steps to create real change. It’s our job to keep the pressure up, and demand that PepsiCo demonstrates to its customers that it can be trusted to provide products free of Conflict Palm Oil.

Here’s how you can take action right now:

STEP 1: Download and print a handful of copies of THIS card (on recycled paper, of course).

STEP 2: Ask your friends, family members, colleagues and people on the street to sign the card to demand that PepsiCo Cut Conflict Palm Oil! There are a lot of great ways to collect a ton of cards at once:

  • Grab some friends and head out to a busy spot in your town. 
  • Set up a table at a grocery store or farmers market and ask passerby’s to stop and sign a card.
  • Ask for a few minutes on the agenda of any gathering that you are a part of. You could ask everyone in your office at a staff meeting, all of your peers in a class or all of the members of your club/sports team/religious group etc. 
  • Ask a local business if they can keep a stack of cards on their counter (leave an envelope for people to leave their cards for you to mail in!)
  • Share this blog post on Facebook and Twitter to invite people in your circles to join in on the action.

STEP 3: Mail your cards! If you live in the US, PepsiCo’s mailing address is:
PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577

If you live outside of the US, you can find your country or region's PepsiCo address HERE.

STEP 4 (Optional): If you live in the United States and plan on getting more than 10 cards signed and sent to PepsiCo, fill out this simple order form and we will send you a package of snazzy pre-printed cards and cool campaign stickers.

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 rainforests which are the homes of the last wild orangutans. Put PepsiCo in a Time Out by mailing your card right now!


Setting the Record Straight on PepsiCo’s Lackluster Palm Oil Commitment

 

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 global responsible palm oil policies that go above and beyond the inadequate standards of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and pledge to eliminate deforestation, human rights abuses and climate pollution from their palm oil supply chains.

While major work remains to truly implement these newly achieved commitments into real change on the ground, there also remain major corporate laggards who have so far failed to raise their standards to the new global benchmark for responsible palm oil production set by their peers. Chief among these holdouts is PepsiCo, a company that uses so much palm oil annually it could fill soda cans full of the stuff stretching around the earth at the equator four times over.

You may have seen this past week that PepsiCo, parent company to popular brands including Doritos and Quaker Oats, issued a strongly worded, defiant public response to a hilarious and creative ad produced by the group SumOfUs that spoofs PepsiCo’s own Crash the Superbowl ad campaign and has quickly gone viral on social media.  

PepsiCo’s statement calls efforts to cut controversial palm oil from its products a "public relations stunt, focused on fiction rather than facts." The company claims that its palm oil policies are 'effective' and went so far as to state: "It is no surprise that SumofUs' continual mischaracterizations of our palm oil commitments are patently false and run counter to the positive reception our policies have received from expert organizations in this arena."

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) would would like to take this opportunity to share for the record a joint communication being made public for the first time now that was delivered privately to PepsiCo more than five months ago from multiple leading expert organizations in the palm oil arena. The communication outlines in specific detail the ways in which PepsiCo's current palm oil commitments fall short and offers recommendations for addressing the gaps it identifies.

While many of its major snack food brand peers have adopted leading commitments to verifiably cut the ties between the palm oil in their products and deforestation, human rights abuses and climate pollution, PepsiCo has continued to refuse to take the steps necessary to ensure its customers that the palm oil it uses is truly free of these egregious abuses.

To summarize, experts continue to call on PepsiCo to strengthen its current palm oil commitment in the following ways:

  • Require its suppliers to uphold human rights, workers’ rights and resolve conflicts in accordance with international human and labor rights laws and norms; not develop on peatlands regardless of depth; prohibit burning; and include support for smallholders across all operations in its global supply chain;

  • Commit to tracing the palm oil it sources to the plantations where the oil palm fruit is grown (it currently only commits to tracing to the mill) and undertake independent verification of its supply chain to ensure it is not purchasing from companies trafficking conflict palm oil.

  • Immediately assess the risks in its Indonesian and Malaysian supply chains given that these are the regions with the highest rates of deforestation, conflict, and labor rights violations caused by Conflict Palm Oil.

  • Clearly outline an implementation plan that includes time-bound performance goals and reporting, auditing and third-party verification measures.  

RAN first alerted PepsiCo to the serious problems in its palm oil supply chain over a year ago and offered to work with the company to find solutions and draft a comprehensive, time bound responsible palm oil policy that does not rely on outsourcing the company’s stated values to the spotty track record of the RSPO. This offer still stands.

 


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