Pages tagged "rainforests"

Satire Wins

HugOWar_pepsi_v4.pngWe launched a campaign to turn up the heat on Pepsico and its use of Conflict Palm Oil. The goal has been to takeover its darkly ironic #LiveForNow advertising campaign that encourages consumption while ignoring human rights abuses, land grabs, and deforestation. Supporters like you have been doing just that by tweeting pictures from events and anywhere they spot the logo of Pepsico’s flagship brand Pepsi, calling out the truth.

Taking the heat to the next level, we launched a site highlighting the awesome pictures coming in, making it even easier to take action!

Our “#LiveForNow Shouldn’t Mean Destroying Tomorrow” site is built for people like you to use to crank up the pressure on PepsiCo. Pictures coming in from people across the US and the globe will make it clear to PepsiCo that our movement is building and we won’t stop until it ends its use of Conflict Palm Oil.

So Tweet the site! 

Share the site on Facebook!

Remember, take a selfie with a Pepsi sign and tweet it out with the hashtag #LiveForNow and we’ll feature you on the site too!

We know your pressure is working. PepsiCo is one of the 5 laggards companies we called out in April who have refused to take effective steps to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil, but other companies are moving. This week, palm oil laggard Conagra Foods announced a new commitment to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil. Together we can push PepsiCo to do the right thing and fix the weaknesses in its Palm Oil Commitment. So keep up the pressure! Start now by sharing our spoof site with your friends and family on Twitter and Facebook.


Turn Up The Heat on PepsiCo

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.

This has to change -- and with your help it will. Are you with us?

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.

Will you join us?

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.


APRIL Makes A Mockery Of Its Own "Sustainable" Forest Policy


Almost six months after the release of its Sustainable Forest Management Policy, Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL)—the second-largest Indonesian pulp & paper company—continues business-as-usual rainforest destruction, betraying the spirit and substance of its policy.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in May that APRIL-owned PT RAPP cleared massive swaths of carbon-rich peatlands on Pulau Padang, an island off the Sumatran coast that APRIL promised to help restore. Members of island community Desa Bagan Melibur have called on APRIL to terminate operations on their community land, and Desa Bagan Melibur’s May 17 protest is the most recent clash in a stark legacy of land disputes between APRIL and Padang’s thirteen villages since 2009.

Pulau Padang’s peatlands store millions of tons of carbon and are home to endangered species and communities that depend on these forests for their livelihoods. You could also say the island itself is endangered: decaying peat causes the low-lying island to subside, and scientists warn that if no action is taken, Padang may very well be under sea level and useless for any type of cultivation by 2050.

APRIL’s forest policy itself is rife with loopholes and allows APRIL to continue slashing natural forests in its concessions through December and source rainforest fiber until 2020. Yet the company’s refusal to uphold even its weak policy commitments brings APRIL’s intentions entirely into doubt. In addition to the Pulau Padang case, earlier this year, APRIL suppliers were caught clearing natural forests on legally protected peat land in Borneo and high conservation value forest on peat land in Riau. In the latter case, not only were internationally protected ramin trees cut down, but APRIL supplier PT Triomas allegedly attempted to hide the evidence by burying the contraband logs.

There is mounting recognition that APRIL’s policy and actions are insufficient and not credible. Last Friday, RAN and an international collation of allies co-authored a letter highlighting the severe shortcomings in APRIL’s policies, such as the lack of a moratorium on natural forest and peat land conversion, unclear commitments on resolving social conflicts, and the policy’s narrow scope, which does not extend to cover APRIL’s sister companies within owner Sukanto Tanoto’s rogue cartel of companies, such as Toba Pulp Lestari, Sateri, and Asian Agri. The letter also points to the inadequacy and questionable credibility of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) APRIL set up to help develop, implement, and monitor the forest policy in a transparent and independent manner.

APRIL’s new policy and the SAC risk being nothing but a parade of environmental lip service built on teetering scaffolds of environmental destruction, social conflict, and corruption. Customers and financiers must cut ties with APRIL and other companies owned by Sukanto Tanoto and pressure APRIL to end rainforest clearing and respect community rights.

TAKE ACTION: Tell APRIL owner Sukanto Tanoto to stop pulping Pulau Padang’s rainforests.

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.


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.

#RANFastFacts: Orangutan Umbrellas

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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.

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.

Strawberry the Orangutan Visits the Home of Tony the Tiger

Strawberry at Kellogg's HQ

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:

“Hi, my name is [your name] from [your city]. I’m a [student, mom..] and one of your valued customers! It concerns me that your company cannot guarantee that it is not using conflict palm oil in its products. Kellogg Company must demand responsible palm oil from its suppliers and eliminate conflict palm oil from your products. I encourage you to build on the Kellogg Company existing palm oil procurement commitments by adopting a new global responsible palm oil procurement policy and implementation plan that ensures that the palm oil in your 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. Thank You!”

2. Post this message on Kellogg's Facebook wall:

Hey Kellogg Company, I’m standing with orangutans, and I can’t stand by brands 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 Kellogg's:

@KelloggCompany I can’t stand by brands that use conflict #palmoil. The power is #InYourPalm.

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 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.

Tackling Indonesia’s Deforestation Crisis Together

[caption id="attachment_20338" align="alignleft" width="300"]A Duta Palma-owned palm oil plantation in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan). Until Cargill adopts supply chain safeguards and publicly discloses its supposed 'No Trade List,' this rainforest destruction will persist in its palm oil supply chain. Photo: David Gilbert A palm oil plantation in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan). Photo: David Gilbert[/caption] Jakarta - As fires continue to burn the rainforests of Sumatra and customers around the world continue to raise the volume of their demands for deforestation-free products, a group of powerful individuals have gathered to align on how to stop this spiraling crisis. The workshop is organized under the auspices of the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) and the goal is to find ways to eliminate deforestation in the supply chains of the 400+ Consumer Goods Forum companies. I am encouraged that everyone here—from Indonesia’s President and regional government representatives to high level executives of international commodities corporations to the region's most active environmental NGOs—seems to understand that this issue is urgent and that they have a responsibility to play a role in achieving real and lasting solutions. Auspiciously, the President of Indonesia stated in his welcoming address that he supports the Constitutional court’s recent decision recognizing traditional ADAT (Indigenous community) land rights as separate from state forests. A lack of clear land rights and a jumbled mess of different and often conflicting land ownership maps used by different levels of governments in Indonesia lies at the heart of the rampant rainforest destruction and human rights violations taking place throughout the country. The President discussed his government's initiative to develop 'One map for the Nation’ that all levels of Indonesia’s government can use that show the legal land tenure, ownership and usage rights for all lands in Indonesia. This is an important step, and inclusion of ADAT lands in this map could lead to the recognition of Indigenous people’s customary land rights. According to the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), there are an estimated 40 million hectares (nearly 100 million acres) of ADAT lands in Indonesia, most of which are unrecognized. Legal recognition and respect for human and land rights is urgently needed as Indigenous people and rural communities continue to have their land stolen from them to make way for more palm oil and pulp and paper plantations. Now that the stage has been set there is an opportunity for governments, consumer and producer companies and civil society to develop action-oriented partnerships to tackle deforestation and human rights violations in the pulp and paper and palm oil sectors. But real, concrete actions must be committed to today if we want to end deforestation and human rights violations in Indonesia. For example, companies can require that pulp and paper or palm oil companies that clear rainforests and violate human rights are not welcome in their supply chains and products. And in time, the Indonesian government can create mechanisms to better recognize and respect Indigenous Peoples' rights. RAN has developed a set of recommendations with our civil society partners in Indonesia that will help to protect Indonesia's rainforests and the people who live in and depend upon them. There is reason for guarded optimism coming out of these meetings—I anticipate that some companies will return home with a deeper commitment to zero deforestation and conflict in their supply chain. I also expect that we will need to continue to hold companies and policy makers accountable and to push them to move quickly to implement the solutions being generated. Your support will be crucial in the coming months to keep the pressure on and move the ball forward.

The Last Stand of the Sumatran Orangutan

[caption id="attachment_21091" align="alignleft" width="300"]Orangutan in tree A stranded orangutan watches as her home is bulldozed.[/caption] This is the first blog post I've written for RAN. I'm the new senior agribusiness campaigner and I was hired because RAN believes that it is more urgent than ever that we take our palm oil work to the next level. I'm writing this post to lay out the next phase of our campaign to stop the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests for palm oil. I want to bring each and every one of you reading this on board right from the beginning. We have reached the last stand for Sumatran orangutans, but it’s not too late to save them. Many Americans are being made into unwitting accomplices in the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests—which provide crucial habitat for a number of endangered species like the Sumatran orangutan—because palm oil is in half of all the products on their neighborhood grocery store’s shelves. In the months ahead, we’re going to tackle this problem at its source. We’ve just sent letters to 20 snack food companies—makers of some of the most popular brand name products in America—alerting them to the rainforest destruction and orangutan extinction in their supply chains. Stand with us: Sign our petition and demand the snack food industry remove rainforest destruction from its products. We’re waiting for the companies’ responses to our letters, and we’re giving them this one chance to avoid being publicly named and shamed. Some of them might not even realize the impact of the palm oil they use in their products. In the meantime, we’re gearing up to launch a bold new campaign that will shift the companies who are the most unwilling to change. But none of these companies will adopt new safeguards to keep rainforest destruction out of their supply chains if they think you aren’t paying attention. That’s why it’s so important that you sign the petition and stand with us. We can’t thank you enough for all the work you’ve done to stand up to the corporations that are destroying Indonesia’s precious rainforests and putting orangutans out of a home for palm oil. Every change we’ve made in the world is thanks to you, your hard work and dedication. But our work is far from done. Please sign our petition now, and then stay tuned. We’ll be in touch soon with more ways you can spread the word about the true price we pay for palm oil and take action on behalf of Indonesia’s rainforests and all of its inhabitants.

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