July was another busy month over at RAN's Facebook page!
Here's a look at the month's most popular pictures.
3. The Bronze Panther for Third Most Popular Picture goes to ...
Tell the Snack Food 20 to cut conflict palm oil, not rainforests: http://www.ran.org/snack_food_20
2. The Silver Panther for Second Most Popular Picture goes to ...
... the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminding us what Independence Day really means.
1. And the Gold Panther for Most Popular Picture goes to ...
... Thomas Edison! This picture definitely stirred up some controversy over his business practices, and his treatment of Nicola Tesla—but he was right about the potential of solar power.
On May 20, thousands of us united in a Global Day of Action to tell PepsiCo to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil. PepsiCo responded by announcing a Forestry Stewardship Policy and Palm Oil Commitment, but neither of these new promises are strong enough to guarantee that Pepsi’s use of palm oil is not driving rainforest destruction, species extinction and human and labor rights abuses.
PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world - the company uses enough palm oil every single year to fill Pepsi cans that would stretch around the Earth 4 times - but it has fallen out of step with its peers and still has no truly responsible palm oil purchasing policy.
Instead of cutting Conflict Palm Oil from its products, PepsiCo continues to push its darkly ironic #LiveForNow campaign. PepsiCo is telling people not to worry about climate change, the fate of the last wild orangutans and children that are forced to work in slave-like conditions on oil palm plantations and just #LiveForNow!
It’s our job to tell PepsiCo that #LiveForNow isn’t good enough. This summer we’re turning up the heat.
PepsiCo is pushing its #LiveForNow propaganda out through it’s “Real Big Summer” marketing campaign which includes Pepsi sponsored concerts and events across the US. We need YOU to crash Pepsi-sponsored events and deliver the message that #LiveForNow shouldn’t mean rainforest destruction, climate change and human rights abuses.
Because of you PepsiCo has made some progress. With your help we’ve convinced the snack food giant to go beyond just sourcing Roundtable on Sustainable Palm certified palm oil. However, PepsiCo’s policies lack a commitment to trace its palm oil back to the plantations where the oil palm fruit was grown and to verify that its suppliers operations are free of forced and child labor, conflicts with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and clearance of rainforests and peatlands. It also lacks a time bound action plan, so it’s hard for its consumers to know what steps it will take to clean up its palm oil supply chain.
This isn’t good enough. PepsiCo must adopt a policy that is inline with what forests, the people that rely on them and our planet need and demand that its suppliers, like Cargill, do the same.
With your help we’ll convince the global snack food giant to take the steps that will guarantee that its products - like Quaker Oats and Frito-Lay Chips - will be free of Conflict Palm Oil for good.
Help us turn up the heat on PepsiCo this summer. Sign up to let us know you’re in.
//www.youtube.com/embed/uozNAWnuqPU?rel=0&vq=hd720Please take action now to protect the extraordinary Leuser Ecosystem forever! You can read more from Tezar below: Hello, My name is Tezar Pahlevie. This year I was honored by winning the 2013 GRASP Conservation award for my team’s work restoring rainforests damaged by illegal palm oil plantations, but now, a dangerous push from palm oil companies could see all our hard work undone. I write from my home in Aceh, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, because the people and the place I love most are in danger and I urgently need support from people around the world to save them. Please join me in asking the governor of Aceh to protect the world class Leuser Ecosystem by nominating it as a new UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a really scary time for me, because the governor of Aceh has on his desk a disastrous plan that would remove crucial protections from the Leuser Ecosystem, opening up huge areas of some of the world’s most biologically diverse forests to major industrial development. This new plan could be signed by the governor at any time. The six million acre Leuser Ecosystem is home to the densest population of orangutans remaining anywhere and it is the only place where orangutans, tigers, elephants, rhinos and sun bears live in the same forest together.Nearly four million people depend on the rainforests of the Leuser Ecosytem to provide them with clean water for drinking, irrigation and food production. I am really sad and frustrated because every day and every month I see the destruction of the forests around my home. We in Aceh have experienced the dangerous floods that come after the logging and destroy people’s homes, livelihoods and in some cases, takes the lives of our friends or family. Witnessing all this destruction breaks my heart. We have a different vision for Aceh. We must protect the Leuser Ecosystem and the people who rely on it. The Aceh people have long fought to protect these forests because they provide us with clean water, food and are important for the next generation. It is urgent that the governor of Aceh hears from you now. Just recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identified the Leuser Ecosystem as one of the world’s foremost “irreplaceable areas” that must be protected to preserve biodiversity. I stand with scientists from across the world who are right now calling on the governor of Aceh to protect our forests by nominating the region to become a new UNESCO World Heritage site. It gives me hope that by people across the world calling on the governor, he will listen to the people instead of the companies that want to destroy our forests, and work to find a balance that will protect the forests and the livelihoods of Aceh’s people. Please take action today to automatically send a fax to Governor Dr. Zaini Abdullah asking him to listen to the traditional wisdom of Aceh’s people by supporting the nomination of the Leuser Ecosystem as a new UNESCO World Heritage site. Semangat - keep the spirit, Tezar Pahlevie Conservationist and 2013 GRASP Conservation Award Winner
Today an orangutan called Strawberry, along with RAN's Palm Oil Action Team and local residents from Battle Creek, Michigan, paid a visit to the home of Tony the Tiger, a.k.a Kellogg's headquarters, to call on the snack food giant to cut “Conflict Palm Oil” from its products.
Strawberry’s family lives in the forests of Indonesia on the island of Sumatra, but the expansion of palm oil plantations is threatening their home. After Strawberry learned that Kellogg’s was using Conflict Palm Oil in its products, she set out to tell her story to the company directly and ask the decison makers at Kellogg's to make sure they help protect her family’s home.
Strawberry hoped she might meet Tony the Tiger—thinking he might be a cousin to the Sumatran tigers she knows from home—but instead she met with his keepers. At the Kellogg’s HQ, she and her friends from the palm oil action team gave representatives of the Kellogg Company a copy of the report that RAN released last week, titled Conflict Palm Oil: How US Snack Food Brands are Contributing to Orangutan Extinction, Climate Change and Human Rights Violations, and outlined RANs demand to cut Conflict Palm Oil.
Strawberry hopes that the folks at Kellogg’s listen to her story and take her demands to heart, but she needs your help to convince Kellogg’s to cut Conflict Palm Oil.
The time for action is now. Here are three things you can do right now to echo our demands to Kellogg's: 1. Call Kellogg’s at 1-800-962-1413. Here's a call script you can use:
2. Post this message on Kellogg's Facebook wall:
3. Tweet at Kellogg's:
Since April, RAN’s team and our supporters have been calling on Kellogg’s to adopt and implement a time-bound policy that builds on its existing commitment and ensures that the palm oil in the company's supply chain is fully traceable, legally grown, and sourced from verified responsible palm oil producers not associated with deforestation, expansion onto carbon-rich peatlands or human and labor rights violations.
In August, Kellogg’s responded to our call to action by releasing a strengthened palm oil commitment. Now Kellogg’s needs to turn that commitment into a robust global palm oil policy and remove Conflict Palm Oil from its products.
Adopting a global responsible palm oil policy is even more important now that Kellogg’s has entered into a joint venture partnership with the world’s largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International. Wilmar International currently does not have an adequate global responsible palm oil procurement policy and, like other global palm oil traders such as Cargill, they continue to buy and sell Conflict Palm Oil to companies like the Snack Food 20. It’s crucial that Kellogg’s only maintains joint venture partnerships with supply chain partners who are willing to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from their global supply chains.
Every day our Palm Oil Action Team is taking action and we are growing a national grassroots movement of US shoppers that are joining Strawberry and demanding that the Snack Food 20 eliminate Conflict Palm Oil.
Find out about the next stop on The Power Is In Your Palm Tour or join our Palm Oil Action Team if you want to help build the movement that will remove Conflict Palm Oil from snack foods. You can also visit www.inyourpalm.org to take action and call on all of the Snack Food 20 companies to cut Conflict Palm Oil from their products.
For more info, download the full Conflict Palm Oil report.
Top Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Palm Oil1. What is palm oil? Palm oil is a globally traded agricultural commodity that touches our lives in every trip we make to the supermarket. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from pulping the fruit of oil palms originally native to Africa. Palm oil is commonly used as a cooking oil in Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil and its consumption is on the rise worldwide. The recent rise in the use of palm oil in the US food industry has resulted largely from changed labeling requirements that have caused a switch away from using trans fats. Palm oil is semi-solid at room temperatures and along with coconut oil, is one of the few highly saturated vegetable fats. 2. Why is palm oil a problem? Palm oil has become one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction. Unchecked expansion has pushed palm oil plantations into the heart of some of the world’s most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems and palm oil is among the biggest threats driving iconic wildlife species like the Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan and the Endangered Borneo orangutan to the brink of extinction in Indonesia and Borneo Malaysia. This large-scale destruction of rainforests and carbon-rich peatland landscapes is releasing globally significant quantities of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, making palm oil a major global driver of human induced climate change. The production of palm oil is also responsible for widespread human rights violations as palm oil companies often forcefully remove Indigenous Peoples and rural communities from their lands. Child labor and modern day slavery are known to occur on palm oil plantations in both Indonesia and Malaysia. 3. What is ‘sustainable’ palm oil? The term ‘sustainable palm oil’ has been diluted and overused as a greenwashing tactic to the point that it is no longer a useful term to distinguish good palm oil from bad. Consumers are being misled by labels on products that say ‘RSPO certified sustainable palm oil.’ Many of the companies that use these labels are in fact still causing rainforest and peatland destruction. Companies that produce, trade and use palm oil must go beyond the inadequate standards of the RSPO to be truly responsible. This is why RAN is encouraging companies to only use ‘responsible’ palm oil. We use the term ‘responsible’ palm oil to describe palm oil that has been produced from known sources without contributing to deforestation, species extinction, high greenhouse gas emissions or human rights violations. 4. What about the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)? The RSPO is a multi-stakeholder certification system for palm oil. The RSPO holds promise, but as of yet it has failed to live up to its potential because the standards it uses to determine if a member company is ‘certified sustainable’ has major flaws. The RSPO continues to certify companies that are destroying rainforests and peatlands and causing high greenhouse gas emissions. The RSPO has a poor track record of enforcing its standards and resolving disputes between RSPO members and certified palm oil companies and rural communities. Companies cannot just make commitments to buy palm oil from RSPO members or only use RSPO certified palm oil and consider the problem solved. Companies need to develop their own palm oil purchasing policy that requires their suppliers to provide them with truly responsible palm oil. 5. What alternative oil do you recommend to replace palm oil? RAN is asking snack food companies to reduce their overall consumption of controversial palm oil and to make sure that any palm oil they use has not resulted in forest destruction or human rights violations. Food manufacturing companies can also use oils that are not grown in the tropics and have been produced responsibly including olive oil, canola oil, corn oil and safflower oil. The American Heart Association also recommends eating these monounsaturated oils and polyunsaturated fats instead of processed palm oil. Another option in the tropics is coconut oil. It is important to note that all edible oils have an environmental and social foot print and any oil or oil blend used to replace palm oil should meet the same rigorous environmental, social and supply chain transparency safeguards. 6. Is palm oil healthy? The science is not entirely settled and health claims about the virtues of palm oil are largely hearsay and based on the properties of fresh and unprocessed palm oil and not the highly processed food additive widely used in packaged foods. The World Health Organization, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service all recommend against consuming palm oil and other tropical oils high in saturated fats. 7. What is palm oil used for? Palm oil is found in roughly 50% of packaged goods sold in US or European grocery stores. Palm oil and its derivatives are used in a remarkable array of products, such as ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, cereals, breakfast bars, cake mixes, doughnuts, potato chips, instant noodles, frozen sweets and meals, baby formula, margarine, and dry and canned soups. Palm oil is also the most widely used frying oil in the world and is commonly used in the American fast food industry for products such as French fries. The palm oil industry has grown dramatically over the past few decades and palm oil now accounts for a quarter of global vegetable oil consumption and nearly 60% of the global trade in vegetable oils. In the U.S. alone, palm oil imports have jumped 485% in the last decade. Besides foods, it is widely used in detergents, soaps, cosmetics and other household goods. It is also used as a biofuel. 8. What ingredient names is palm oil listed under? Under current regulations, it is legal for food manufacturers to list palm oil simply as “vegetable oil.” Here is a partial list of other names for palm oil-derived ingredients:
- Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) and PKO fractionations: Palm Kernel Stearin (PKs); Palm Kernel Olein (PKOo)
- Partially Hydrogenated Palm and Palm Kernel Oil (PHP(K)O)
- Fractionated Palm and Palm Kernel Oil (FP(K)O)
- Organic Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil (OP(K)O)
- Palmitate – Vitamin A or Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphates
- Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
- Elaeis Guineensis
- Glyceryl Stearate and Stearic Acid
- Steareth -2 and Steareth -20
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl sulfoacetate
- Hydrated palm glycerides
- Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye
- Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate
Could it be true that palm oil is not only bad for orangutans, but for our health too? According to institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, the answer is yes.
Based on its saturated fat content and effects on blood cholesterol, several such organizations have recommended reducing consumption of palm oil. Problem is, it’s so ubiquitous in grocery stores these days that unless you strictly avoid packaged, processed and refined foods altogether, you’re consuming palm oil in at least one if not more meals per day. From soy milk to breakfast cereal, peanut butter to frozen dinners, granola bars to cookies, even in your seemingly healthier foods like whole wheat pizza crust or vegan butter spreads—palm oil has become a staple in the American diet.
So, if palm oil is already a regular ingredient in our largely unhealthy American diets, why would Dr. Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon who supposedly has our best interest at heart, be recommending we incorporate even more palm oil into our diet through the use of red palm oil?
Do you think it’s ironic that, as a doctor who specializes in treating heart and lung disease, he’d be advocating increased consumption of palm oil when the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute is saying the opposite?
What do you think—is palm oil as detrimental to our health as it is to the survival of fragile species like orangutans? And if so, why is Dr. Oz encouraging millions of his viewers around the world to give palm oil a try?
It’s not too late to help reverse the buying frenzy Dr. Oz has already inspired. Sign our petition to Dr. Oz demanding that he retract his irresponsible statements on air.
1. World Health Organization. "Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases." WHO Tech. Rep. Series 916. Geneva. 2003. P. 88.
2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). "Choose foods low in saturated fat." http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/chd/Tipsheets/satfat.htm, Accessed 8/25/10.