Pages tagged "palmoil"


Calling Out Conflict Palm Oil Laggards One By One

RAG_Laggards_Better.jpgPepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world. But the company has yet to take steps to address its Conflict Palm Oil problem and break the link between the products you buy and rainforest destruction. So hundreds of people in dozens of cities around the world will join next Tuesday’s Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil and demand change from PepsiCo. But other snack food companies are also refusing to deal with their Conflict Palm Oil problem and they are starting to get the individual attention they deserve. 

This week hundreds of people used MoveOn.org’s community petition site to demand PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods, H.J. Heinz Company, Campbell Soup Company, and Kraft Foods protect rainforests by cutting Conflict Palm Oil. And they are taking to social media to spread the word. Check out some of their tweets and call out the Conflict Palm Oil laggards yourself by clicking on the links.


Watch And Share: Years of Living Dangerously

Have you seen the press around Years of Living Dangerously yet? We're amazed by what's happening over at Showtime right now and we think you will be too. Not since Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth has this much time, talent and money been put into bringing the dramatic reality of climate change into the mainstream. We're at a tipping point in our historic effort to end the devastating effects of Conflict Palm Oil on people and the planet, and this kind of primetime, star-studded exposure on the issue has the potential to become a catalyst for major change. But that can only happen if enough people share this gripping program with everyone they know.

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To achieve the huge changes we seek, we need to spread the word beyond the choir who already know climate change is the defining crisis of our time, and this new series provides us with a great tool to do just that. During filming, I walked with Harrison Ford down the snack food aisle of a local grocery store explaining how Conflict Palm Oil is destroying Indonesia’s forests. It was a truly memorable moment in my work as a forest advocate.

Now, I’m thrilled to share this link with you where you can watch the premiere episode of ShowTime’s groundbreaking new series on climate change, Years of Living Dangerously, which features our conversation—for free—a week before it will air on cable TV next Sunday, April 13th. (You can also watch the full episode above.)

The forest team at Rainforest Action Network has been working closely with the show’s producers for many months and we are confident that it has the potential to be the most important, highest profile story on climate change in a generation. This hard-hitting 9-part series – vetted by a team of respected climate scientists—brings together some of the biggest names in Hollywood and investigative journalism to dramatically tell the biggest story of our time to a larger audience than ever before. Check it out yourself, then make sure every person you know who is on the fence gets a chance to see this.

The first two episodes, called "The Last Stand, Part 1 and 2," include the story of how Conflict Palm Oil is wreaking havoc on Indonesia’s lush rainforests while spewing immense amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. And crucially, the story brings the issue home by showing how each of us are connected to this growing crisis and how the actions we take to change corporate behavior can make a real difference.

There could not be a more urgent time for as many people as possible to see this unflinching program and hear the compelling message it contains—help us get this message out to everyone by sharing this video with your friends and family.


PepsiCo Says No More Land Grabbing; Now Needs To Cut Conflict Palm Oil and Deforestation

PepsiCo Land GrabsToday, food and beverage giant PepsiCo declared that it will no longer accept land grabbing in its global supply chains. Land grabbing occurs when Indigenous Peoples or local communities are kicked off their land so corporations can make profits from growing palm oil, sugar, and other crops.

This announcement comes after significant consumer pressure from Oxfam's Behind the Brand Campaign and PepsiCo investors who called on the company to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for land grabbing.

The adoption of its new Land Policy is a positive step forward for PepsiCo, but we know all too well that actions are stronger than words. PepsiCo must take real action to deal with its land grabbing problem. Given that land grabbing is also a symptom of PepsiCo's deforestation and Conflict Palm Oil problems, it must now make the next bold move and implement a responsible palm oil sourcing and no deforestation policy.

PepsiCo is a huge company, operating in over 200 countries and earning $65.6 billion in revenue each year. Its well known brands, including Pepsi, Doritos, Ruffles, Cheetos and Quaker, are found in homes around the world. RAN has exposed the dangers of Conflict Palm Oil and the fact that it ends up in chips, cookies and granola bars made by PepsiCo. PepsiCo sources its palm oil from companies like Cargill, Wilmar and AAK in Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico.

Despite the growing concern over Conflict Palm Oil, PepsiCo has not adopted a responsible palm oil policy to remove deforestation and social conflict from its global supply chain. Instead of taking responsibility for its supply chain, the company relies solely on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO continues to certify companies that are destroying rainforests and peatlands and causing high greenhouse gas emissions. It also has a poor track record of enforcing its human and labor rights standards, and resolving disputes between certified companies and local communities over land grabbing.

PepsiCo cannot rely on the RSPO.

To address these problems fully, PepsiCo must join other leading consumer companies and adopt responsible palm oil sourcing and no deforestation policies and cut Conflict Palm Oil from its products.

You can help pressure PepsiCo to tackle its deforestation and Conflict Palm Oil problems next.

On May 7th, PepsiCo will need to face up to its shareholders who will be casting their vote on a deforestation resolution at its annual general meeting. With your help, we’ll convince PepsiCo to do the right thing for the forests and the people that depend on them for their survival. Add your voice here.

Banner photo via C.J. Chanco Inset photo via Oxfam


Climate Culprits Exposed In New Scorecard

RAG_UCS Scores We know that keeping forests standing, along with keeping fossil fuels in the ground, offers Earth’s best hope for fighting catastrophic climate change. Yet everyday rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands are destroyed, burnt and replaced with row upon row of palm oil plantations. This destruction has propelled Indonesia, the world's largest exporter of palm oil, into becoming the third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions behind only China and the US. So why are we still destroying the rainforests that are the key to securing a safe climate future? We’re losing forests because companies like PepsiCo, Kraft, Heinz and ConAgra Foods buy cheap palm oil to use in their products without making sure that the palm oil they buy is not linked to rainforest destruction. Today, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a scorecard that ranks 30 companies on the basis of the commitments each has made, and the actions each has taken, to address the climate and forest impacts of the palm oil in their supply chains. Ten of the 30 major companies ranked in the scorecard are companies we’ve dubbed the Snack Food 20. RAN chose these twenty corporations because they are globally significant snack food manufacturing companies that consume palm oil. These companies have the power to engage their global supply chains, driving a transformation of the way palm oil is produced and ending the destruction of rainforests. This scorecard reveals that PepsiCo, Kraft, Heinz and ConAgra Foods are the 4 packaged food companies that have taken the least action to address the impact of their palm oil supply chain on the climate and forests we all rely on. So while other companies in the palm oil sector are adopting ambitious responsible palm oil policies that, once implemented, will break the link between their products and rainforest destruction, these companies are refusing to clean up their supply chains. With your help we will force the worst offenders to change the way they do business. These companies invest millions of dollars to gain your trust. You have enormous influence. All you need to do is put your power into action and join the movement telling these companies to remove Conflict Palm Oil from their products. Please join us and invite your friends and family to do the same as we take on these brands—and win. We have the opportunity to right so many wrongs simply by speaking out and refusing to stand by brands that use Conflict Palm Oil. Protecting forests will not only help combat climate change, it will also secure the homes of the world’s last orangutans and the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on these forests for their survival. The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. The full scorecard can be found at www.ucsusa.org/palmoilscorecard.

Stand With Orangutans On World Wildlife Day

Today is World Wildlife Day, and orangutans need your help more than ever. The rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia that the world's last remaining wild orangutans rely on are being destroyed for Conflict Palm Oil—but you can change that. With your help, we're calling out 20 of the top snack food brands that are using palm oil tied to rainforest destruction and demanding that they change their ways. Stand with orangutans this World Wildlife Day by making a generous donation now. No orangutans—or Sumatran tigers, or pygmy elephants, or any other wildlife that calls the rainforest home—should lose their homes for cheap snack foods. Can you make a generous contribution and help stop orangutans' rainforest homes from being bulldozed for Conflict Palm Oil?

Does Your Family’s Valentine’s Candy Contain Child Labor?

Hersheys_hugs_720x720First, the bad news.

This week, as millions of schoolchildren across the U.S. share Valentine’s candy and chocolate, they’ll be unwittingly—and unwillingly—contributing to child labor taking place on the other side of the world.

One of the key ingredients in Hershey’s chocolates—and many other Valentine’s candies—is responsible for widespread child labor and human rights violations, land grabs, and is also pushing orangutans to the brink of extinction. The ingredient? Conflict Palm Oil.

Palm oil is now found in roughly half the packaged goods in grocery stores, as its use in the US has grown over 500 percent in the past decade. It goes by dozens of names, including Palm Kernel Oil, Palmitate, and Glyceryl Stearate.

Currently, more than 85% of the palm oil used in America’s packaged food is grown on palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, where child labor is common and widespread. In fact, the US Department of Labor lists palm oil as a commodity notorious for child labor and forced labor. A nine-month investigation by the Schuster Institute of Investigative Journalism published in BusinessWeek last July documented widespread cases of child labor on palm oil plantations in Indonesia’s palm oil industry. Palm oil produced in this manner has been dubbed “Conflict Palm Oil” by Rainforest Action Network.

Now for the good news.

Rainforest Action Network is leading a Valentine’s Day campaign to convince Hershey’s and other top chocolate companies to remove Conflict Palm Oil from their supply chains. Hundreds of activists in 250+ American cities are placing warning stickers on Valentine’s chocolates in grocery stores this week that say, “There’s nothing romantic about #ConflictPalmOil.”

Now for the even better news.

Besides checking your Valentine’s chocolate for palm oil before buying it, there are three easy ways you and your family can help Hershey’s kiss Conflict Palm Oil goodbye:

  1. Post a message to Hershey’s Facebook Wall:
 Hershey, there is one condition for my ♥. Adopt a palm oil policy that protects rainforests and the families that rely on them. I can’t love brands that use Conflict Palm Oil. No child labor for chocolate! #HersheyHurts

  2. Call Hershey directly. Click here for details.


  3. Twitter storm Hershey with your version of this Tweet: 
Hey @HersheysKisses, I won't buy chocolates with #ConflictPalmOil. No child labor for sweets! #HersheyHurts

Thousands of activists are taking this message to Hershey’s right now, in grocery stores across the nation. You can magnify their voices and raise your own by joining the online cry to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from our food supply.

5 Ways Our Network Is Saving the Planet

nokxl sf vigilDear friends, Early in the New Year, I received a text concerning my two nieces that read, “We are all safe but leaving town—state of Emergency declared in Charleston as a result of coal chemical spilled into river.” Although I’m very aware of the impacts coal has on the health of people and planet, the reality of it hitting so close to home has me more fired up than ever about the work Rainforest Action Network has to do this year. So far the chemical spill in West Virginia is a story about a completely preventable accident, but it’s my belief that it will also be a story of organizing, resisting corporate control and bringing the end of coal even closer. It was a spill that happened just weeks before the release of the State Department’s final environmental assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline which gives President Obama all the room he needs to prevent the disasters that we will see should he approve the Keystone XL pipeline. I believe in my core that the only way we can tackle the challenges we face is by fully leveraging our entire network. This year, I’m committed and excited to share RAN’s thinking, listen to your input and find ways for you to engage more deeply in our work. In 2014 we will work harder than ever to keep fossil fuels in the ground, forests standing and communities thriving. This year we are resolved to focus on five key areas that are vital for our planet: 1) Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline We will not accept the development of a pipeline that threatens to lock in an estimated one billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifetime. Last year, RAN teamed up with CREDO and The Other 98% to launch the “Pledge of Resistance,” making clear their opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. To date, over 76,000 people have pledged to take peaceful direct action in their communities to resist the Keystone XL pipeline, and RAN has helped to train and build a community of hundreds of action leaders across the country.  And it doesn’t end with President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. At RAN we believe this level of engagement must be the new norm for our movement to ensure that not only do we stop this project, but that we are prepared to stop dirty energy projects that would follow. 2)   Remove Conflict Palm Oil from our Food In rainforests half a world away, orangutans are making their last stand against extinction — scientists believe that they could be extinct in the wild in our lifetime. But the threat to their survival lies much closer to home. You’ll find it hidden in the snack food aisle of your local grocery store — and in your shopping cart. To grow cheap palm oil, America’s snack food brands are driving the last wild orangutans to extinction, enslaving children and destroying rainforests that are critical to maintaining a stable climate. As thoughtful consumers, we have the power to make them listen. Our strategy is working. This year we will continue negotiating with consumer brand companies to develop or improve palm oil procurement policies for 100% traceable and responsible palm oil and will continue to push for improvements from the largest U.S importer of palm oil, Cargill. Every time we sign a petition or sticker foods that contain Conflict Palm Oil, we bring more attention to this incredibly important issue, and we give more power to our movement. 3)   Challenge Bank of America to Stop Financing Climate Change. The five largest American banks are among the most significant global underwriters of the coal industry, and therefore global climate change emissions. In spite of the human and environmental costs of coal as well as the growing financial risks associated with investments in the coal industry, Bank of America alone has invested billions and maintained its position as the largest funder of coal. Bank of America and other U.S. banks have been slow to address this risk, lagging behind their European counterparts. We will work to pressure banks to account for their financed emissions by adopting climate policies at least as strong as the European banks. This autumn, we worked with students on 35 campuses to challenge Bank of America graduate recruitment programs. Hundreds of students showed up at 65 information sessions and interviews to declare, “We won’t work for climate chaos.” Now that we have the bank’s attention, we’re working to improve its policies and move funding away from climate-destroying enterprises. 4)   End the Use of Paper Made from Rainforests Last year, one of the largest paper companies in the world, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) released its rainforest protection commitments, a major first step for a company that has a history of destructive practices when it comes to rainforests and human rights. Over the past year, RAN has helped to strengthen APP’s commitments while working with groups on the ground to make sure that implementation is happening in the forest. While a policy on paper is an important step, we are working to make sure that the bulldozers remain idle and communities are given a voice in decisions about their lands. Until APP implements changes that can guarantee rainforests and communities are protected, we will use our market leverage to ensure large corporate customers understand that it is too soon to resume business with APP. 5)   Provide Small Grants to Local Communities Fighting for the Planet Over the past ten years, RAN’s Small Grants program has distributed more than a million dollars to Indigenous-led and local grassroots organizations to help secure protection for millions of acres of traditional territory in forests around the world and to help defend their communities and their environment from the fossil fuel industry. In 2014 we hope to expand our Small Grants program and increase the amount of money going directly to communities. This year our goal is to distribute $173,000 to communities fighting to defend our planet. At RAN we know we need to set ever-more audacious goals if we’re going to advocate for forests, the climate and communities. Which is why I’m asking you to join us on our ambitious journey into 2014, because we can’t accomplish any of these things without your support.  Visit our Take Action page to learn more about how you can be a part of this important movement. You are the Network that gives me strength to sit across the table from CEOs of corporate giants like Bank of America and Cargill and demand more than modest or incremental changes. This is the time for bold action, and I’m drawing you closer because you’re crucial to us accomplishing what is necessary for forests, people and planet. Now that I’ve shared what I want to fight for in 2014, I’d like to ask you to share what you are committed to doing for people and planet this year. Tweet me your ideas at @lrallen. I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of us this year, and am honored to be on this journey with you. For people and planet in 2014, Lindsey

An Urgent Request from Indonesian Conservationists

The following post is a guest blog from Indonesian conservationist and RAN ally Tezar Pahlevie. Please watch the brief following video of Tezar speaking to RAN staff from his home province of Aceh in Sumatra, Indonesia from November 2013.

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Please take action now to protect the extraordinary Leuser Ecosystem forever! You can read more from Tezar below: Hello, RAG_Tezar_Cropped_500My 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 RAG_Leuser_PH_500x500

Thank You

You know what I’m thankful for this year? You. Everything RAN has accomplished this past year is thanks to you. Please don't think for a second that I'm just saying that. RAN’s people-powered campaigns literally cannot be won without you. Corporate decision-makers can destroy our planet with impunity if no one calls them out—but you not only call them out, you demand accountability. And that really does make such a huge difference. Without you, we can’t protect forests, defend human rights, or move this country past fossil fuels. So the RAN team put together this video to say thank you and show you the incredible power of the network you are an integral part of. (You might even see yourself in it!) [youtube bZPPO_hB54k 550] Here is a short but by no means comprehensive list of what you achieved this year:
  • You made “Conflict Palm Oil” an international issue discussed in the pages of the New York Times, Businessweek and The Guardian.
  • You made it possible for more than 76,000 people to get the training and resources they need to take peaceful direct action and demand President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
  • By sending nearly 12,000 emails, you convinced the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to sit down with community members from Papua New Guinea and mediate their dispute with KLK, a notorious forest-destroyer and labor rights abuser.
  • You sent over 18,000 emails to Bank of America and Goldman Sachs calling them out for funding Coal India, a company that has been tied to numerous environmental violations. Thanks to you, BofA and Goldman Sachs were forced to go back to Coal India and wring environmental concessions from the company before proceeding.
  • More than 25,000 of you called out Cargill for its ties to a palm plantation that uses forced and child labor.
  • And the truth about Conflict Palm Oil is currently being broadcast from a Jumbo-Tron in Times Square and has been viewed on YouTube almost half-a-million times.
I also have to offer my sincerest, most heartfelt thanks to you for standing with us during one of the hardest periods in RAN’s history. When Becky Tarbotton—our friend, leader, and executive director—died unexpectedly last December, it was your support, your love, your belief in our core purpose and the importance of our role in the world that helped us get through it. Even when our hearts were broken and things seemed impossibly dark, we were able to come together and persevere. I honestly can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Becky than this past year—one of the most successful years in RAN history. Hope you enjoy the video we made for you. Thank you for everything you're doing. You are making an incredible difference.

Our Big Finale! (Or is it?)

RAG_CampbellsVisitRawThis is it! We’ve reached the final stop on our “The Power Is In Your Palm” Tour! This morning, I accompanied Strawberry, the orphaned orangutan from Indonesia, on her final two Snack Food 20 visits, to the headquarters of Grupo Bimbo (makers of Sara Lee Bread) in Horsham, PA and Campbell Soup Company in Camden, NJ. Campbell’s is a major U.S based global food company that uses palm oil. Over the past 6 months we have met with Campbell's but the company has not made any commitments to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products. Can you help us close the tour with a bang and make sure Campbell’s feel the pressure today? Grupo Bimbo is a major global food company that controls popular brands, including Sara Lee Breads and Bimbo cookies and baked goods, and uses palm oil. Over the past 6 months Grupo Bimbo has failed to respond to our requests for meetings. Last week the company finally agreed to meet with us to discuss the urgent need to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products. Will you echo our demands to Campbell’s and Grupo Bimbo right now? Let’s make a call for change so loud the companies can't ignore it! 1. Post this message on Campbell’s Facebook wall: Hey Campbell’s, I won't feed my family products that contain Conflict Palm Oil. Demand responsible palm oil from your suppliers and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products. The power is #InYourPalm. 2. Post this message on Sara Lee's Facebook wall: Hey Grupo Bimbo, I’m standing with orangutans, and I can’t stand by brands like Sara Lee that use Conflict Palm Oil. Demand responsible palm oil from your suppliers and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products. The power is #InYourPalm. 3. Tweet at Campbell’s: Hey @CampbellSoupCo, I can’t stand by brands that use Conflict #PalmOil. The power is #InYourPalm. At the Campbell’s and Grupo Bimbo's headquarters, Strawberry and her friends from the New Jersey Palm Oil Action Team gave representatives of both companies a copy of the RAN report Conflict Palm Oil: How US Snack Food Brands are Contributing to Orangutan Extinction, Climate Change and Human Rights Violations and outlined RAN's demand to cut Conflict Palm Oil. Thank you for all of your amazing support to pressure the Snack Food 20 to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from our food these past two months. It’s been an incredible, busy campaign push that we never could have accomplished without all of you! But this is just the beginning. We will be in touch soon as the next Palm Oil Action Team adventure unfolds... Jess Serrante

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