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April 21, 2015

Activists Take to Grocery Stores Across US To Expose Controversial Ingredient in Quaker Products

Two year anniversary of campaign launches Week of Action against snack food giant for putting customers at risk of eating Conflict Palm Oil

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989, Emma@ran.org

 

San Francisco, CA -- Today, hundreds of activists are taking part in a Week of Action in grocery stores and public spaces across the United States, engaging shoppers and rebranding grocery store shelves to warn customers that products from PepsiCo’s sub-brand Quaker may contain Conflict Palm Oil.

Activists are affixing stickers and placards to store food aisles to warn grocery store customers that they may be feeding their family Conflict Palm Oil. In addition, over a dozen activists have taken the lead to organize larger group actions, from street theatre to hanging banners, in Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stevens Point, WI, and Orange County and Arcata, CA.

The activists say that PepsiCo’s palm oil commitment, and that of its sub-brands like Quaker, does not go far enough to prevent Conflict Palm Oil from appearing in its products. Conflict Palm Oil is linked with deforestation, habitat loss, climate change and human and labor rights abuses. The activists organized themselves to send a clear message to PepsiCo: “The time to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from products is now.”

The Week of Action marks the two year anniversary of a campaign to pressure PepsiCo, the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world, to cut Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain.

The campaign is part of a growing national movement to expose the threat of Conflict Palm Oil. Lindsay Vanderhoogt, a 24-year-old activist leading an action in Boston, said, “Whether we like it or not, palm oil is a part of our everyday lives. Palm oil is in everything from the food we eat to the shampoo we use. It's practically inescapable and irresponsibly produced Conflict Palm Oil is affecting our world in a very negative way.

“I'm excited to tackle this issue with my community in Boston not only because Conflict Palm Oil is something that affects everybody, but also because ever since the American Revolution, Boston has been a national leader. It's time for America to step up and take a stand against Conflict Palm Oil, and what better place to do this than in the ‘cradle of liberty’?” She said.

Rebecca Chung, a 16-year-old activist organizing a day-long event on Conflict Palm Oil in Orange County, CA, said, “I'm taking action in Orange County, because there's strength in numbers and education. I've always believed that if given an outlet to take action and given the information, the community would stand in solidarity against the injustices caused by Conflict Palm Oil.”

PepsiCo is one of the “Snack Food 20” group of companies targeted by Rainforest Action Network’s Conflict Palm Oil campaign. PepsiCo consumes more than 450,000 metric tons of palm oil annually for its snack food brands like Quaker, Doritos and others in the U.S., Mexico, Latin America, Asia and Europe, and its consumption of palm oil is on the rise.

Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network said, “PepsiCo is starting to take these issues seriously, but it is lagging behind its peers as it lacks a truly responsible palm oil policy. The requirements it currently has in place have critical gaps that must be addressed before PepsiCo can meet the new global benchmark for responsible palm oil procurement.

“For PepsiCo to meet consumer expectations, it must adopt a binding, time bound policy with an action plan that includes full traceability of palm oil back to its source and verifiable safeguards for human rights, forests and peatlands,” said Tillack.

Growing pressure from activists continue to demand that PepsiCo prove that it has broken the link between its products and rainforest destruction, climate pollution and human and workers’ rights violations.

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