Bakery Giant Grupo Bimbo Responds to Consumer Pressure; Leaves Laggards Behind and Adopts Responsible Palm Oil Commitment
Rainforest Action Network welcomes “step in right direction,” and calls on other companies to follow suit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989, firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco, CA––In the face of a two-year long public campaign, and more recent increased consumer pressure mounted against manufacturers of the popular brand Sara Lee––which includes the multinational bakery products manufacturer Grupo Bimbo, as well as Hillshire Brands––for the use of the controversial ingredient Conflict Palm Oil, Grupo Bimbo announced yesterday a new palm oil commitment.
The commitment includes strong provisions on upholding workers’ rights, which is a reflection of a growing concern over labor abuses, including forced labor and human trafficking, in the palm oil sector. Grupo Bimbo’s new commitment is also notable in that it requires compliance across its suppliers’ entire operations and goes beyond the requirements set forth by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which lack strong safeguards against deforestation and has a poor track record of upholding community or workers’ rights.
“We welcome this as a step in the right direction,” said Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director with Rainforest Action Network. “For communities, palm oil workers and forests in Indonesia, what matters now is that Grupo Bimbo puts this new commitment into swift action. The real work for Grupo Bimbo begins now.
“Consumers that use Sara Lee products are still at risk of Conflict Palm Oil, however, as Grupo Bimbo needs to put its commitment into action, and Hillshire Brands, also a maker of Sara Lee products, has yet to make an adequate commitment to remove Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain,” Tillack said.
RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil campaign, launched in the fall of 2013, calls on Grupo Bimbo and 19 other top snack food companies––dubbed the ‘Snack Food 20’––to address their use of Conflict Palm Oil connected to rainforest destruction, orangutan extinction, human rights violations and climate pollution.
Other Snack Food 20 companies have adopted ambitious deadlines to implement their palm oil commitments by year end, but Grupo Bimbo has not yet committed to a deadline for achieving compliance with its policy. RAN stands ready to work with Grupo Bimbo on an action plan to achieve rapid compliance across its suppliers’ entire operations and take focused action to address labor rights abuses and others risks in its supply chain.
For information more, see: http://www.ran.org/sf20scorecard
"In 2007, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) launched a campaign to persuade Cargill -- the largest exporter of palm oil into the US, and one of a handful of traders that dominate the industry -- to stop buying oil grown on newly cut forests and peatlands. When Cargill refused to budge, RAN changed its strategy and began targeting the company's clients, the so-called "snack food 20," which includes corporations like Hershey's, General Mills, and Kraft.
This new tactic paid off. Some of the high profile brands began demanding that their suppliers get serious about deforestation. And in September, Cargill announced a sweeping no-deforestation policy and endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests, joining other major palm oil traders including the Singapore-based Wilmar and the Indonesian company Golden Agri-Resources. The two leading pulp and paper companies in Indonesia, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited and Asian Pulp and Paper, have followed suit with their own commitments."
We 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.
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.
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.
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.