Minneapolis, Minn. – As the Twins pulled into the eighth inning of their closing home game against the Texas Rangers, the crowd was treated to a few unscheduled advertisements. Instead of Cargill’s usual announcements promoting hot dogs, a large banner, hung by activists from the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), was unfurled from behind home plate, making Cargill’s usual advertisement change to read “Cargill Destroys Rainforests.” Fans started chattering in the stands as the banner was held until stadium officials asked activists to take it down. No one was arrested.
Cargill regularly sponsors the Twins’ eighth inning at home games, and produces the meat for the stadium’s four types of hot dogs.
“As Minnesota residents, we want to be just as proud of our hometown companies as we are of our hometown team,” said Carrie Anne Johnson of RAN – Twin Cities Chapter. “Right now, Cargill is striking out on rainforests. It’s time for them to step up to the plate and take real action to protect the world’s last remaining rainforests.”
The banners were intended to highlight the poor environmental record of Cargill, the giant Minneapolis based agribusiness corporation, which is also one of the Twins most loyal hometown sponsors. Cargill is the nation’s leading importer of palm oil, which is destroying rainforests in Indonesia. Cargill owns their own palm oil plantations and is buying palm oil from some of the worst suppliers in Southeast Asia. They’ve been caught polluting waterways, taking land from local communities and destroying rainforests. Many of America’s biggest food companies buy palm oil from Cargill, so their palm oil is in much of America’s foods.
Although the company has agreed to take some steps to evaluate the impacts of its own plantations and supply chains, it has backed out of promises to cancel contracts with Sinar Mas Group, an Indonesian company widely considered to be one of the leading rainforest destroyers in Indonesia.
“Cargill’s been saying that they want to change incrementally,” said Jared Ingebretson of RAN- Twin Cities Chapter. “The rainforest isn’t being destroyed incrementally, however. Cargill needs to act now to stop cutting down rainforests and destroying people’s homes and livelihoods.”
Palm oil is one of the most commonly found ingredients in thousands of consumer products, from soap and lipstick, to breakfast cereal and soymilk. Its use is widespread and increasing around the world, but particularly in the United States, where its consumption has tripled in the last five years. Unfortunately, palm oil has been tightly linked to the destruction of some of the world’s most valuable remaining rainforests. Expanding consumption has triggered expanded production, replacing once biodiverse rainforests with palm oil plantations and endangering unique species including Sumatran orangutans and tigers.
Since 2007, RAN has been campaigning against Cargill to push the company toward a more transparent, responsible palm oil supply chain. In May 2010, RAN released a report detailing rainforest clearing on Cargill’s own plantations. Full information on RAN’s campaign can be found at www.theproblemwithpalmoil.org.
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org