Pages tagged "Forests"

Sara Lee and the Problem with Palm Oil

When I’m explaining the problems with palm oil to folks who are new to the issue, I often say that I am almost impressed at how many things this industry has managed to get wrong.  The palm oil industry is enslaving workers and children, destroying forests that are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, and the climate pollution that comes from clearing the peatland rainforests that are replaced with palm oil plantations is greater than the entire US transportation sector.

I’m proud to say that this issue is getting more and more of the attention it deserves and that the RAN Conflict Palm Oil campaign is driving unprecedented changes in this awful industry. Slowly but surely change is happening, but there are still a lot of folks, including the decision makers at Snack Food 20 laggard company Hillshire Brands, that aren’t taking the threats of Conflict Palm Oil seriously.  

This month, palm oil activists around the country brought their communities together to make a statement to Hillshire Brands (creators of Sara Lee packaged pies and cakes) that the Conflict Palm Oil in its products has got to go now.

Here are some of their stories:

At Green Lake in Seattle, LeAnn Fox brought together a group of folks including the local group of the inspiring Raging Grannies to march around the lake asking people to make phone calls to Hillshire Brands. Together they generated dozens of calls and photo petitions and informed Seattle locals about the problems with Conflict Palm Oil and our demands of Hillshire Brands.


At the Venice boardwalk in Los Angeles, Shannen, Danny and the LA Palm Oil Action Team partnered with the the local “L.A. for Bernie Sanders” group. The group had intended to generate phone calls to Hillshire Brands, but the company’s voicemail had already been flooded by calls from other activists around the country. Quick to adapt, the team improvised and got around 100 photo petitions which they tweeted at Sara Lee.


Becky, a high school student in Orange County, CA, and her team of 11 palm oil activists talked to other teenagers in their community who got fired up about the impacts of Conflict Palm Oil and called Hillshire Brands to demand that the company cut it out of its supply chain immediately!


Lindsay and the Boston Palm Oil Action Team took to the Boston Common to celebrate World Orangutan Day and put pressure on Hillshire Brands. Despite having their event cut short by the rain, the activists got 25 letters written to the company and a ton of enthusiastic support from the many Bostonians who they talked to.


Anna, Kathy and the amazing Tempe, AZ, Palm Oil Action Team braved the 115 degree heat to take action last week. The team of 5 passionate activists set up shop outside of a local bookstore to generate 40+ calls to the company, 17 handwritten letters and a handful of photo petitions.


Hillshire Brands still hasn’t gotten back to RAN about its status as one of the biggest laggards in the Snack Food 20 group of companies. Stay tuned… we’ll let you know soon about more ways that you can help RAN pressure the company to do the right thing and cut Conflict Palm Oil.

Thanks to the committed activists who organized these events! If you find yourself inspired to take on more in the fight for forests, we’d love to have you join our Palm Oil Action Team as well! For more on the Palm Oil Action Team including how to join, click here or check out our video below.

Chicago Activists call on Hillshire Brands to Cut Conflict Palm Oil.

For over 2 years, RAN has exposed Hillshire Brands, and 19 other snack food giants, as companies at risk of using Conflict Palm Oil in their products. Hillshire Brands is one of the companies lagging farthest behind in the Snack Food 20 group of companies and has refused to take action while its peers have begun reforming their palm oil supply chains.

Despite thousands of phone calls and emails, we’ve gotten little-to-no response from Hillshire (which has recently been acquired by Tyson Foods) representatives. Hillshire Brands is the producer of Sara Lee cakes and pies, products that are laden with Conflict Palm Oil, yet it is clear that the company is not yet taking the rainforest destruction and violations of human rights in its products seriously.


Activists held a banner and images of destroyed rainforests outside of the Hillshire Brands headquarters in Chicago.

On August 10th, the Palm Oil Action Team ramped up the pressure on Hillshire Brands. The day of action started when nine Chicago-based RAN activists and I took the Snack Food 20 campaign to the front door of Hillshire’s enormous headquarters in downtown Chicago, IL as the office opened for business. We held a banner saying “Hillshire Brands: CUT CONFLICT PALM OIL” along with images of forests that have been destroyed for palm oil production. We explained to employees the dangers of Conflict Palm Oil and called on them to speak up and demand that their company immediately cut Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain.


Palm Oil Action Leader, Cailie, talks with a Hillshire employee on their way into work.

During the day of the action in Chicago, thousands of activists around the world supported the campaign by taking action online — and successfully took over the company’s  Facebook page with our demand to cut Conflict Palm Oil. You can leave your own comment (and see the massive outpouring of support for the elimination of Conflict Palm Oil from Sara Lee desserts) here.


Four Chicago activist show images of the rainforest destruction created for Conflict Palm Oil Production, in front of the Hillshire Brands headquarters.

So far, we still haven’t heard a peep from the decision makers at Hillshire Brands, or its parent company Tyson Foods. Because of the efforts of thousands of people just like you, Hillshire Brands has been put on notice! There is still much work to be done to move Hillshire Brands from its current status as a Snack Food 20 laggard to a leader, and we’ll need your help to make that happen. Click here to send a message to Hillshire Brands and demand that it address the destruction of rainforests and human rights abuse in its supply chain.

You could say something like:

Warning: Sara Lee pies and cakes may contain Conflict Palm Oil — cause of child labor, deforestation, and orangutan habitat destruction.

Hillshire Brands Company — maker of Sara Lee products — has fallen behind its peers. It must adopt a time-bound responsible palm oil policy now.


Chicago activists celebrate their successful action at the Hillshire Brands headquarters.


A big THANKS to the folks who made this action a success: Palm Oil Action Leaders Cailie, Jessica and Jacob and RAN activists Maria, Caroline, Dave, Joe, Jedd and Brian.


Conflict Palm Oil Culprits: Who is Destroying the Lowland Rainforests?

Imagine a place where some of the world’s most unique animals—like tigers, elephants, and sun bears—roam side by side. Where towering trees, lush ferns and an abundance of tropical plants grow forming a vibrant green landscape as far as the eye can see. Where the forest is so full of life that at times the orchestra of all the different insects, primates, and birds can seem deafening.

Although this sounds like a place straight out of an imaginative fairytale, this place is real. It’s called the Leuser Ecosystem—6.5 million acres of lush, verdant tropical rainforests located on the Northern tip of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. The Leuser Ecosystem is considered to be among the most important forests left in Southeast Asia. Besides supporting some of the world’s highest known levels of plant and animal diversity, it also provides a steady, clean water supply to millions of people in the province of Aceh.


Like any common fairytale, lurking in the shadows are the villains of the story. Despite being protected under Indonesian national law, the Leuser Ecosystem is under siege from palm oil plantations and multiple other development plans, like mining and pulp and paper plantations.

Of the different forest landscapes that comprise the Leuser Ecosystem, the lowland forests are some of the most important yet face greatest risk of destruction as they are the targets for industrial palm oil plantation expansion.

Largest_flowers_Leuser.jpgThe lowland forests, located in Aceh Tamiang, Aceh Utara, Aceh Timur and Aceh Selatan, contain the highest biodiversity of all the forest systems found within the Leuser Ecosystem. Both the largest and the tallest flowers in the world, the Rafflesia and Amorphophallus, can be found here, along with the largest and tallest trees in the region, which provide critical habitat for tigers, elephants, rhinos and sun bears. These dense lowland forests also support populations of clouded leopards, hornbills, many species of primates—including the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan—deer, insects and amphibians.

Any expansion of industrial palm oil in these lowland forests would trigger virtual destruction of the integrity of the ecosystem and condemn several species to probable extinction.

One of the most controversial palm oil producers responsible for the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem’s lowland forests is PT. Aloer Timur, who was found clearing a critical elephant corridor on April 30, 2015. A report produced by Greenomics Indonesia presents evidence from spatial monitoring and field observations that documents the clearing of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests in a PT. Aloer Timur concession located inside the Leuser Ecosystem. RAN confirmed this destruction in June 2015. At the end of June, Greenomics released another report with photographic evidence showing PT. Aloer Timur had still been bulldozing HCS forests as of June 24, 2015.

IMG_1274_x1000.jpgDestruction of the lowland rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem by PT. Aloer Timur (Mopoli Raya). Aceh, Indonesia. June 2015.


PT. Aloer Timur is an example of a Conflict Palm Oil producer who is driving the destruction of the priceless lowland rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem. RAN is calling on PT. Aloer Timur to permanently halt the clearance of the rainforests and for its parent company, Mopoli Raya Group, to adopt and implement a responsible palm oil policy to ensure it is not driving the destruction of the rainforests across Indonesia.

PT. Aloer Timur is a supplier of palm oil giants Musim Mas Group and Wilmar International, both of whom have made commitments to protect rainforests from palm oil expansion. After being made aware of this evidence, Musim Mas and Wilmar suspended their contracts with PT. Aloer Timur. This is a positive first step, now more needs to be done to prevent future clearance of forests by PT. Aloer Timur and other bad actors operating in the Leuser Ecosystem. Wilmar, Musim Mas and other members of the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) must proactively find solutions to secure permanent protections for the priceless Leuser Ecosystem.

The next step Musim Mas and Wilmar and all IPOP companies must take is to immediately implement a moratorium on the clearance of rainforests and peatlands in the Leuser Ecosystem in order to break the link between the palm oil they sell to companies, including the Snack Food 20, and destructive palm oil production practices.

You can help us protect the Leuser Ecosystem by taking action today. There is too much at stake to lose this amazing place.

Breaking: Sara Lee’s Not-So-Sweet Dessert

SaraLee_720x720.pngAround the globe, Sara Lee is known for its ready-to-bake pies and cakes. But for those of us fighting for forests, it’s known for something much more sinister - Conflict Palm Oil. Earlier this summer, Hillshire Brands Company — maker of Sara Lee frozen pies and cakes — was identified as one of the Conflict Palm Oil laggards. These are companies which have not done nearly enough to ensure that the products they sell are not linked to human rights abuses, rainforest destruction, land grabs, and child and forced labor.

That’s why this morning, Chicago activists took action with RAN at the Hillshire Brands headquarters to demand that it adopt a global responsible palm oil policy that eliminates deforestation from its supply chain. Will you support these activists by sending a message to Sara Lee on Facebook?

Thousands have written and called, demanding Hillshire Brands Company be a leader in eliminating Conflict Palm Oil, but it has refused to budge. This is where you come in: the protest today could be just a flash in the pan without your voice. We need you to demand better from Hillshire Brands Company and keep the pressure up!

Please take a moment and send Hillshire Brands Company and its leading brand Sara Lee a message on its Facebook page.
You could say something like:

Warning: Sara Lee pies and cakes may contain Conflict Palm Oil — cause of child labor, deforestation, and orangutan habitat destruction.

Hillshire Brands Company — maker of Sara Lee products — has fallen behind its peers. It must adopt a time-bound responsible palm oil policy now.

Thank you - for standing with the activists protesting today, and for forests and the people who depend on them worldwide.

Why We Were at Ralph Lauren’s AGM today

RL_Report.jpgThis morning, activists took to the streets of New York for the second time this summer, calling on Ralph Lauren to be a leader for communities and the forests they depend on. As Ralph Lauren shareholders gathered at the swanky St. Regis Hotel in midtown Manhattan for the company’s annual general meeting, they were greeted by activists handing out copies of RAN’s latest report, “Lessons from the Incense Forest” and asking them to bring this important issues to the leadership inside the meeting.

“Lessons from the Incense Forest” details the struggles of the people of Pandumaan-Sipituhuta in North Sumatra, on the frontlines of human rights abuses and forest destruction for rayon, viscose and other wood-based fabrics. For over 13 generations, these communities have relied on the sustainable harvest of the resin from the benzoin tree, which not only provided a lucrative  livelihood for the community, but maintained the forest ecosystem.

The community of Pandumaan-Sipituhuta has rights to the forest that have been recognized by the former colonial government, by traditional law, and by all neighboring communities. Still, in 2009, the Indonesian government ignored those rights and authorized pulp and paper company Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) to operate on 4,100 ha of community-owned forest. TPL has subsequently begun to convert this land to mono-crop eucalyptus plantations, destroying not only the community’s livelihood, but damaging priceless habitat and a local river on which the community relied. While the community has been active in leading the fight to protect their land, including facing violent police intimidation, they still have not been able to reach their goal - legal rights recognized by the Indonesian government.

While these abuses may be happening far away from Ralph Lauren’s shareholder meeting in New York City, these places are woven together through the very thread of clothes Ralph Lauren sells. RAN activists brought this community’s story to Ralph Lauren shareholders and urged them to make Ralph Lauren a leader on forests and human rights. Amid rush hour in Manhattan, activists engaged shareholders on this critical issue and the potential risk it poses to Ralph Lauren. The group encouraged them to hold the company accountable by asking questions inside the meeting, including what steps it plans to take to ensure that it keeps land-grabbing and other human rights abuses out of its supply chain.

The message stopped many New Yorkers in their tracks. While the idea of forests being processed into fabric is still new and surprising to some, people are supportive of the goal — protecting forests and the people who rely on them — when they learn more. This isn’t a new experience, as every time we’ve gone out to talk about Ralph Lauren’s ties to deforestation, we have the same positive response and the occasional supportive thumbs up or fist pump. Also encouraging was the willingness of shareholders to engage on the issue and to consider the information in the report — demand was so high that the activists handed out all 50 copies of the report that we brought to the event! People also asked thoughtful questions about the destruction and abuses happening on the ground. The best part? We’re confident that the report made its way inside.

Fashion companies like Ralph Lauren can and should take the lead, and become a part of the solution by standing up for communities like Pandumaan-Sipituhuta. It’s time for Ralph Lauren and the Fashion 15 to take action by developing and implementing strong wood-based fabrics procurement policies. Injustices like those happening in Pandumaan-Sipituhuta should never be part of the supply chain.

Will you help amplify this message to Ralph Lauren? Click here to demand that Ralph Lauren be a leader for forests and communities.

RSPO responds to Modern Day Slavery Findings on RSPO Member Felda Global Venture’s Plantations


Monday, August 4, 2015

CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin,

RSPO responds to Modern Day Slavery Findings on RSPO Member Felda Global Venture’s Plantations

Coalition of NGOs continues call for an open investigation into The Wall Street Journal’s findings

August 4, 2015 (San Francisco, CA) - On the heels of a major investigative article from The Wall Street Journal exposing serious human rights and labor abuses in Malaysian grower Felda Global Venture’s plantations, a coalition of civil society groups issued a statement calling on the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for an open investigation into the abuses. Conditions including human trafficking, forced labor, and withholding of wages were documented, all of which are violations of the RSPO’s Principles and Criteria, as well as basic human rights.  

The RSPO has responded stating it takes the allegations very seriously and the RSPO Complaints Panel has requested that the RSPO Secretariat conduct an independent assessment of RSPO Certification Bodies’ competency in identifying cases of non-compliance related to worker and human rights issues. The Panel notes that “this should not be confined to Felda but should consider and report comprehensively to the RSPO on the extent of these issues as they affect all RSPO certified members, initially within Malaysia. Depending on the outcome of this report, it may be desirable to commission further reports from other regions."

The coalition of NGOs, which includes Finnwatch, Humanity United, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), Organisasi Penguatan dan Pengembangan Usaha-usaha Kerakyatan (OPPUK), Pesticide Action Network Asia & the Pacific (PANAP), Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Sawit Watch, Sum of Us, Tenaganita, Trade Union Rights Centre (TURC) and Walk Free has issued the following in response:

“We applaud the RSPO’s move to investigate the competency of its own certification bodies in identifying non-compliances related to worker and human rights issues. This is not the first finding of serious workers’ rights violations on RSPO member plantations and the systems enabling such serious violations must be fully and transparently investigated.  

“However, we remain vigilant in our calls for the RSPO to openly investigate The Wall Street Journal’s findings of human trafficking, forced labor and other labor abuses on Felda’s plantations specifically. Given the severity of abuses documented, the RSPO should treat this situation with great urgency and take immediate action.

“We are calling for a fully transparent investigation into labor abuses on Felda’s plantations with the findings fully disclosed, and we encourage the RSPO to include third-parties and/or independent observers with labor expertise. If an open investigation confirms the findings of the WSJ, the RSPO must uphold its own Principles and Criteria and suspend Felda’s membership until these very serious violations are proven to be remedied.  

“International buyers, including Cargill, Wilmar, Procter & Gamble and Nestlé, as well as those unnamed, must also act immediately to remedy labor violations in their supply chains. If Felda does not remedy all labor violations in a transparent manner, buyers must publicly sever all financial ties with the company.”


To see the Free and Fair Labor in Palm Oil Production: Principles and Implementation Guidance, visit:  

To see The Wall Street Journal’s “Palm-Oil Migrant Workers Tell of Abuses on Malaysian Plantations,” visit

The High Cost of High Fashion: New Report Exposes Human Rights Abuses On Frontlines of Forest Fabric Production


Tuesday, August 4 2015


***Full case study report available here


CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161,


The High Cost of High Fashion: New Report Exposes Human Rights Abuses On Frontlines of Forest Fabric Production

Report implicates popular American brands, including Ralph Lauren, for their use of forest-sourced fabrics like Rayon


San Francisco, CA – A new report released today documents decades of human rights abuses suffered by communities at the frontlines of plantation expansion for tree-based fabric production. Titled Lessons from the Incense Forest, the report implicates popular American brands, dubbed the ‘Fashion Fifteen’ by Rainforest Action Network, as being at risk for deforestation and human rights violations in their supply chains. Prominent brands include fashion giant Ralph Lauren, whose Annual General Meeting (AGM) is to take place in New York City this Thursday, August 6th.

The report follows a trend of growing pressure on American fashion companies to do more to address deforestation and human rights abuses in their global supply chains. Activists recently made a colorful display on the red carpet of the 2015 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Awards at New York City’s Lincoln Center, calling on Ralph Lauren to adopt policies that commit the leading fashion company to using only forest-friendly fabrics in its products.

“Every year, tens of millions of trees are turned into clothing through the use of forest fabrics like rayon and viscose,” said Brihannala Morgan, Senior Forest Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “These forests have played a critical part of local community livelihoods for generations, and are now being seized and clear cut for forest fabrics. Without strong policies from fashion companies, rainforest destruction and human rights abuses can become part of our clothing. The time has come for Ralph Lauren and the Fashion Fifteen to take action to ensure that real changes are made on the ground to prevent deforestation, human rights abuses and climate pollution from being woven into the fabrics Americans wear everyday.

“There are some brands that are taking action on this issue, like H&M and Stella McCartney, but Ralph Lauren and the Fashion Fifteen aren’t among them, and there’s just no excuse. As one of the biggest fashion brands in the world, Ralph Lauren has the ability and resources to ensure that human rights abuses and forest destruction won’t be a part of their next collection.” Morgan said.

The new report documents the recent global expansion of mega-plantations for the production of pulp for fabrics, and the resulting devastation to indigenous and forest-dependent communities. Illegal land-grabbing is rampant. In the area owned by just one company, Toba Pulp Lestari, in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, over 20 distinct cases have been documented where traditional, community-owned land has been forcibly seized without the consent of the community and then clear-cut for fabric pulp production.

These communities have been protesting against the loss of their land, livelihoods and resources, and have maintained a decades-long campaign against Toba Pulp Lestari, which is owned by Indonesian tycoon Sukanto Tanoto. Tanoto also owns one of the most controversial families of companies in Indonesia — Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) group. Among many others, RGE owns the pulp-processing company Sateri and APRIL. While many of these companies have recently adopted policies, RAN is calling on fashion companies to help pressure growers and producers to implement real changes on the ground. 

RAN’s Out of Fashion campaign is highlighting Ralph Lauren as one of the most prominent brands among the Fashion Fifteen group of companies — which includes Prada, LVMH, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Vince, Guess, Velvet, L Brands, Forever 21, Under Armour, Footlocker, Abercrombie and Fitch, GAIAM and Beyond Yoga. RAN is calling on these fashion companies to take responsibility for their supply chains, identify and eliminate bad actors, and develop strong, time bound commitments to protect forests and human rights.

For more information on dissolving pulp and RAN’s Out of Fashion campaign, see here.




Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit:

Report: Lessons from the Incense Forest

The people of Pandumaan-Sipituhuta are on the frontlines of human rights abuses and forest destruction for fashion. For over 13 generations, the indigenous Tano Batak people of Pandumaan-Sipituhuta have gone into the forests surrounding their community to harvest the resin of the kemenyaan, or benzoin, tree. This tree has provided a sustainable livelihood for the community, while protecting their unique forest ecosystem.

Then, in 2009, the Indonesian government ignored the community’s rights to the land and handed over 4,100 ha of community-owned forest to pulp and paper company Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL). TPL began to clear cut the forest to plant mono-crop eucalyptus plantations, to provide the material for rayon, viscose, and other wood-based fabrics. This not only destroyed the community’s livelihood, it also destroyed priceless habitat and damaged a critical watershed.

The people of Pandumaan-Sipituhuta have taken action, and have been actively protesting and advocating for themselves, despite police intimidation, arrest, and violence. Rainforest Action Network has documented their struggle, and provided concrete recommendations for fashion industry leaders, in our new report, Lessons from the Incense Forest.

It’s time for fashion companies to develop and implement strong policies to protect the communities at the frontlines. Sign our petition, on the right, to tell Ralph Lauren that it needs to be leaders on forests and human rights, and make sure that violations like those happening in Pandumaan-Sipituhuta never enter into the supply chain. 

Read or download the full report, Lessons from the Incense Forest.

Sign the Petition to Ralph Lauren! 

Your company may be a leader in the fashion world, but right now it’s a laggard on forests and human rights.  

I was deeply disappointed to learn that Indigenous Tano Batak people in North Sumatra are losing their traditionally-owned forests so companies can grow monocrop eucalyptus plantations, which are then processed into rayon, viscose, and other fabrics. This not only destroys their primary source of income - benzoin resin - but also destroys critical habitat and destroys the local watershed.

I don’t want my clothes to come at the expense of indigenous rights and tropical forests. Please take action to ensure that forest destruction and human rights abuses are never part of your supply chain.




5,780 signatures

Sara Lee Call In Day

It's time to ramp up the pressure on the next Snack Food 20 laggard! Your next project as a member of the Palm Oil Ambassadors Team is to launch our new campaign on Dessert giant, Sara Lee with a bang by generating as many calls as possible to the company next month. Are you in?

Don't want to wait on your cards to arrive by mail? Download and print call in cards to recruit your friends and family here!

Sara Lee’s pre-made pies and cheesecakes may be a convenient dessert option, but these products are at a high risk of containing Conflict Palm Oil, an ingredient linked to the destruction of rainforests, peatlands and the abuse of human and labor rights.

Every year, the company spends huge amounts of money on advertising, trying to convince moms and dads that their pies and cheesecakes are desserts that we can trust. We know better, and the proof is in the pie: the company is unwilling to commit to keep children out of slave labor conditions, protect rainforest communities and save orangutan from extinction.

Starting on August 13th, RAN Palm Oil Ambassadors and Leaders will be organizing call-in day events outside local grocery stores or at other busy public spaces/events to generate pressure on Sara Lee. Will you organize a call-in day event and empower your community to demand that Sara Lee eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain?

To date, the company has not taken our demands that it cut Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain seriously, and we need your voices to give our demands the people powered oomph that it will take to get Sara Lee decision makers to do the right thing. 

Below is a How-to guide for organizing your event

Getting Started:

Once you’ve ordered your call cards

  1. Choose a day (August 13-28th,), time (2 or 3 hours), and location or event where you’ll ask people to make phone calls to Sara Lee. Mark your calendar!
  2. Recruit a few friends to join you and set goal together for how many calls you’d like to generate to Sara Lee (5 calls per hour/per person is a great rate. So collectively, if you’ve got 3 people asking for calls for 3 hours, a great goal would be 45 phone calls to the companies).
  3. Practice asking folks to make a call with your friends before you head out to your location (think about what kinds of questions people might ask you ahead of time). Even if it feels a little silly, practicing asking someone to stop and make a phone call ahead of time will make it go much smoother once you’re out in the world asking folks to take action with you!

Action Time:

  • Ask folks to call on the spot: We’ll send you 20 call script postcards per activist participating in the action. This means that you shouldn’t hand the cards out to everyone who asks, but rather ask people to stop and make a call with you on the spot.
  • Get Creative! Sometimes having a playful element like a banner, posters or costume helps break the ice when you are asking strangers to make a phone call. Feel free to get as creative as you’d like with this!

Your call-in day event will be part of a wave of actions around the country that week, and our goal is produce enough pressure on Sara Lee decision makers that they begin to take steps toward creating a robust Conflict Palm Oil policy.

Thanks for your incredible activism. As always, feel free to email Jess Serrante at with any questions.

The Financial Sector and Japan's Corporate Governance Code

Most banks don’t require proof that their clients in the tropical timber, palm oil or pulp and paper sectors have the legal right to clear forest. They don’t require proof that the rights of affected Indigenous Peoples or other forest-dependent communities are respected. And they almost certainly won’t make loans conditional on any robust environmental standards.

As absurd as it sounds, this is standard practice for banks with clients in the business of clearing tropical rainforests. With little more than a claim to a patch of forest, some collateral, and a list of willing clients to sell to, a company finds it all too easy to finance deforestation. RAN believes it's time to stop big banks from bankrolling forest destruction and associated human rights abuses.

One of the largest sources of loans to companies engaged in tropical deforestation is Japan’s banking sector. But the tide may be turning. In June 2015, Japan’s new Corporate Governance Code (the Code) came into effect, which requires Tokyo-listed companies, including Japan’s major banks, to begin to disclose and address the range of environmental, social and governance problems they face.

RAN has produced guidance for Japan’s financial institutions in translating this new policy into practice. Companies causing forest destruction and rights violations should not be bankrolled anymore. RAN is calling on all banks, including Japan’s banking sector, to develop strong forest sector safeguard policies and systems so that only genuinely responsible forest sector clients can get bank loans.

Would you like to receive updates on the campaign? Enter your information on the right and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest news on how you can get involved.


Read or download the full report: The Financial Sector and Japan's Corporate Governance Code (English)


Read or download the full report: The Financial Sector and Japan's Corporate Governance Code (Japanese)

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