Pages tagged "Forests"

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.


Join the Palm Oil Action Team

We're looking for passionate activists to join our Palm Oil Action Team and take the lead to stop rainforest destruction caused by the snack food industry. Join the movement!

What does it mean to be a Palm Oil Activist?

  • Be part of our core group of activists pressuring the biggest snack food companies in the US to cut rainforest destruction out of their products!
  • We'll email you with the newest actions to keep the pressure on the snack food industry.
  • Direct communication with RAN's National Organizing team when you sign up to participate in an action—we'll be here the whole way to support you, whether this is your first step into activism or if you are a seasoned activist.
  • Participate in group calls with other Palm Oil Activists from around the country to share organizing skills and action ideas!

Remembering Becky Tarbotton, 1973 - 2012

Becky TarbottonIt has been two years since we lost our dear friend Becky Tarbotton, and two years since the environmental movement lost a rare and visionary force.

We still miss Becky every day. And we still feel her influence and her energy throughout our offices and throughout all of our work.

For me, this connection is very personal – Becky was the person who hired me on at RAN.  And she did so in her own inimitable and intense fashion. What I thought was going to be a drawn out process was instead one face-to-face meeting followed by a phone call just hours before I was to board an international flight.  She was offering me a chance to lead the campaign against Cargill and the fight to save the most rapidly disappearing rainforests on the planet.

“If you want to take on the largest private company in the world,” she said, “here is your opportunity. Take it or leave it but I need to know soon.” This meant my first day on the job would be getting on a plane to Indonesia and jumping into the deep end of what would become a seven-year battle.

But that was her leadership style – one of conviction, confidence and audacity. She embodied the belief within this organization that we cannot only settle for what’s possible.  We have to strive for what’s necessary.

She is even quoted on the opening page of Naomi Klein’s latest book. Becky’s quote not only speaks to the imperative and urgent nature of the issues we face, but also illuminates the incredible person behind it.

“We need to remember that the work of our time is bigger than climate change. We need to be setting our sights higher and deeper. What we’re really talking about, if we’re honest with ourselves, is transforming everything about the way we live on this planet.”

That is the will and the drive and the vision that continues to push us forward. That is the audacity and the inspiration of Becky. And that is to what we aspire everyday at RAN.

I would like to think she would be proud of the year we’ve had and the work we’ve continued in her name.

But most of all, I would like to say to her once again, Thank you.

2014: A Breakthrough Year for Protecting Global Forests

2014 will long stand out as a breakthrough moment in RAN’s history. This is the year when our long term work reached a turning point and began to achieve truly systemic change,  transforming the destructive way palm oil is produced, traded and sold worldwide. 

We are always cautious and skeptical about corporate commitments, and in many ways the hard work of turning promises into action begins now, but it is fair to say that a new global benchmark has been set for responsible palm oil production in 2014. Significantly, all the major new policies secured this year that meet that new benchmark include hard fought standards for human and labor rights,as well as climate pollution, alongside their deforestation commitments.

This is huge! And it could not have happened without you.

The rapid succession of high profile responsible palm oil commitments achieved this year are the direct result of years of unrelenting campaigning and tireless support from people all over the world. Millions of emails, thousands of phone calls, hundreds of actions, dozens of high-impact media stories and countless hours of intensive, behind-the-scenes corporate negotiations and stockholder engagement finally convinced many of the biggest multibillion dollar players in the international palm oil industry to commit to cut their ties to deforestation, human rights abuses and carbon pollution.

Huge amounts of work still needs to be done, and we will continue to push hard to make sure these corporate pledges create the much-needed real change on the ground. But it must be said that this stunning and celebrated shift was almost unimaginable just a few years ago. 

And that’s not all! Here’s a sampling of some of the other major forest program milestones achieved by RAN in 2014:

-   Transforming Cargill!After seven years of shifting tactics and non-stop pressure, agribusiness giant Cargill’s CEO announced one of the most far-reaching zero-deforestation commitments ever established. This commitment covers Cargill's sprawling global empire of commodities, including palm oil, sugar, soy, cattle, and cocoa.

-   Getting Rainforest Destruction “Out of Fashion!”This year, RAN launched Out of Fashion: a campaign for forest-friendly fabrics, putting the “Fashion 15,” group of big name brands, on notice that forests across the world are being destroyed to create the fabrics we wear every day, and it stops now.

-   Cutting Conflict Palm Oil Out of Our Snacks!We took on the top 20 snack food companies and to date, 10 of these corporate giants have made commitments to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from their supply chains. One of the biggest remaining laggards, PepsiCo, is squarely in our sights and is already feeling strong pressure to do the right thing.

-   Global Action for Global Good! On May 20th, the Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil became the largest such effort in RAN’s 30 year history, generating over 130 events hosted by thousands of activists from all over the world.

-   Protecting the “Last Place on Earth!”This November, RAN released The Last Place on Earth -- a detailed and deeply researched report drawing a line in the sand to stop the destruction of the extraordinary Leuser Ecosystem, one of the most biodiverse landscapes on earth. The report implicated dozens of companies by name and produced immediate responses and supply chain action by two of the world’s biggest palm oil producing companies.

-   Holding the Line on Asia Pulp and Paper!APP, long one of the world’s most notorious forest destroyers and a target of hard hitting RAN campaigning for many years, passed a landmark Forest Conservation Policy in early 2013. But as always, the devil is in the details and RAN has been busy this year keeping an eagle eye on APP to hold the company accountable as it begins to implement its new policy. Our efforts have helped secure major new commitments that expand the scope of APP’s policy along with a pledge to restore or conserve millions of acres. We have also  worked closely with local allies to train and support communities  working with APP to reclaim their land rights.  

The threats facing the world’s forests, our climate, and all the people who depend on them are enormous and can be daunting. But as we look ahead into 2015 we feel a new sense of momentum to our work and a bigger, stronger network of allies and activists than ever before.

With your continued support, we will come out swinging in the new year and double down in our efforts to defend the world’s forests from destruction and hold the world’s largest companies responsible for the severe consequences of their business practices.

Thank you and stay tuned for more to come!

Ginger Cassady 

An Urgent Message from Aceh

My name is Wiza, and I’m from Aceh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. I’m working with local communities to protect the endangered forests of the Leuser Ecosystem as our survival and livelihoods depend on it.

But everything that I am fighting for could be lost if the new Indonesian President Joko Widodo does not reject a disastrous new land use plan that would drive destructive palm oil and pulp plantations, logging, mining, and poaching in my home province, Aceh. The fate of our people now rests in the hands of our President through his Minister of Home Affairs. I have traveled to the US because I urgently need your support in calling on the President to protect the Leuser Ecosystem by rejecting Aceh’s new spatial plan.

The most effective way for the global community to reach President Widodo is through social media. Will you take a moment to respectfully request President Widodo reject the Aceh spatial plan on his Facebook page? Please cut and paste the following message in Bahasa Indonesia:

Kepada Bapak Presiden Jokowi, dengan hormat kami meminta Bapak untuk berdiri di pihak rakyat dan membatalkan Qanun tata ruang Aceh. Masyarakat setempat bergantung pada Kawasan Ekosistem Leuser untuk air, pencegahan bencana dan mata pencaharian. Dunia juga bergantung pada daerah ini untuk menjaga stabilitas iklim. Mohon Pak Presiden, dengan pimpinan dan kewenangan Bapak, berpihak pada masyarakat dan membatalkan tata ruang Aceh. Media menyebut tata ruang Aceh sebagai “Bencana yang dapat dicegah”.

You'll be leaving this message for the President:

Honorable President Widodo: I respectfully request that you stand for the people and reject the Aceh Spatial Plan. Local communities rely on the Leuser Ecosystem, for food, water and their livelihoods. The world community relies on this area to keep our climate stable. Indonesian media is calling the Aceh Spatial Plan “An entirely preventable disaster.” Please stand for people and reject the Aceh Spatial Plan.

In his first month in office, our President promised to put people before palm oil. He has committed to give our forests and land to the people, not to corporations. I need your help to hold the President to his words by rejecting Aceh’s new spatial plan.

If the spatial plan is not rejected, crucial protections of the Leuser Ecosystem will be removed and handed to corporations, spelling disaster for the climate, forests, local communities and the long term economic health and sustainability of the region.

At 6.5 million acres, the Leuser Ecosystem is a world unto itself—a rich landscape of intact tropical lowland rainforests, cloud draped mountains and steamy peat swamps. It is among the most biodiverse and ancient ecosystems ever documented by science, and most of this protected area is located in my home province of Aceh. Its forest landscapes provide a steady, clean water supply to millions of people.

We have been fighting for so long to protect the Leuser Ecosystem and all our work could be undone if the spatial plan is not rejected. It is urgent that the President hears from you now.

Please send a message to President Joko Widodo, asking him to listen to the needs of Aceh’s people by rejecting the new Aceh Spatial plan and to ensure that protections remain in place for the Leuser Ecosystem.


Semangat - keep the spirit,

Farwiza Farhan

Acehnese fighting for the Leuser Ecosystem

COP 20: Will climate commitments be enough to protect the Peruvian Amazon?


Indigenous Peoples + Territorial Rights = Living Forests! Hundreds of indigenous peoples and their allies to create a human banner parallel to the UN COP20 climate summit to demonstrate the importance of guaranteeing territorial rights in addressing climate change. ©Amazon Watch / Spectral Q — in Lima, Peru.

Political leaders from around the world and thousands of government officials, scientists and lobbyists are meeting this week in the Peruvian capital of Lima to discuss solutions for the global climate crisis. One of their priorities is the conservation of natural forests.

Forest ecosystems play an important role for the climate, water cycles and soil protection. Trees and soil store enormous amounts of carbon, and up to 20% of yearly greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation.

But not far away from the UN climate summit in Lima, just across the Andes in the Peruvian Amazon region – the green lung of Earth – thousands of hectares of rainforest are being cleared with chainsaws and bulldozers. And in this particular instance, Peruvian government and state officials prefer to close their eyes and ears and remain silent.


The real world: logged rainforest near the town of Tamshiyacu in the Peruvian Amazon region

Source: RdR

 According to Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo, two companies logged around 15,000 hectares of primary rainforest in recent months without an environmental impact assessment or permits for forest clearing or change of land use: around 13,000 hectares north of the town of Pucallpa in Ucayali, and about 2,000 hectares near Tamshiyacu in Loreto.

This is only the beginning. The same companies and others have applied for permits to log more than 106,000 hectares of mostly primary rainforest in the region of Loreto according to the newspaper El Comercio. Similar interests exist in Ucayali and San Martin. Their objectives: to cash in on timber and forest land and establish huge industrial palm oil and cacao monoculture plantations.

This is not only detrimental to nature and the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, it also comes at a tremendous economic cost to Peru. A study on the valuation of environmental goods and services lost by deforestation in Tamshiyacu and Nueva Requena determined that the economic losses for the next 30 years amounted to US $348,000,000. In addition to being responsible for this economic impact, the companies are also reportedly intruding on the properties of local peasant farmers.

The current developments in the Peruvian Amazon are the consequence of misguided policies, weak governance, inadequate laws and the decentralization of competence to the regional governments. In 2000, the Peruvian government declared the establishment of palm oil plantations to be of “national interest” in an effort to attract major investors. In January, the Agricultural Ministry announced that Peru has room for 600,000 hectares of palm oil plantations.

The newspaper El Comercio reported that state officials, including the president of Ucayali, had allegedly sold state-owned forest lands to one of the companies in an irregular manner. The case was transferred to the National Criminal Court in Lima in July.


Aerial view of the deforestation for palm oil  in Ucayali

Source: RdR

A variety of organizations and local citizens have filed charges against the companies for environmental crimes and the usurpation of private property. Several state prosecutors and courts in Loreto and Ucayali are investigating the cases. The investigations are extremely slow, however, and lack backing from public institutions.

In Loreto, the senior prosecutor for the environment in charge of investigating the deforestation in Tamshiyacu resigned in October. “Support for our prosecutor’s office is minimal, and without personal, administrative operators, we simply cannot do good work,” environmental prosecutor Manuel Medina told the press. “Everything has its limits. I have sent official letters to the Ministry of Justice asking for help, and I have had no response.”

In late October, the Peruvian Minister of Agriculture was called to inform before a congress committee on reported irregular logging and massive deforestation in Loreto (Tamshiyacu) and Ucayali on behalf of a private company to plant cacao and other products without prior environmental impact studies.

It is time for Peru’s president Ollanta Humala, the UN, and its member states to take action. The agreements and commitments made during the climate summit need to materialize, not only on paper, but also in the forests. A UN declaration on forests was signed during a previous UN climate conference in New York in September, and a forest partnership was established between Peru, Germany and Norway. The forests, and the people who depend on them, urgently need to see these promises put into action.

More information:

TV reports from Peruvian channel Panamericana:

-      Deforestation without limits: forest devastation in Iquitos from the 10th of August, 2014

-      Slash and burn in Ucayali: continued devastation of the Peruvian jungle from the 31st of August, 2014


Reject the commercialized holiday season and join the movement of generosity!

A day for giving thanks followed by two days of commercialized holiday madness has passed. Together, let’s reject the corporatized holiday season and help us build the movement of generosity!

Here at RAN, we work hard day in and day out to fight climate change and protect rainforests and those that depend on them by challenging corporate power.

We hope you will join us this holiday season, and consider making a gift to Rainforest Action Network and support our work to ensure people and planet are placed over corporate profit.

You can also donate via PayPal here:btn_donateCC_LG

Controversial Palm Oil Stock Offering Hides Serious Environmental, Financial Risks

Indonesian firm BW Plantation’s (BWPT) $900M share rights offering rife with concerns over labour rights, wildlife and deforestation. 


CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161,

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.”



Forests and Finance: New Cash for Conflict Palm Oil

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.

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