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June 17, 2015

Conflict Palm Oil Progress Report: Major Snack Food Brands Continue to Lag Behind Corporate Peers on Sustainability Commitments

New report calls on laggards among the ‘Snack Food 20’––PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz and instant noodle giants––to do more to cut Conflict Palm Oil from their supply chains

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

***Download of full report available here: www.ran.org/sf20scorecard

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

 

San Francisco, CA – Today, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) released a new progress report, titled Testing Commitments to Cut Conflict Palm Oil, ranking the relative strength of palm oil commitments made since the launch of the Snack Food 20 campaign two years ago. This 2015 progress report shines a spotlight on the laggards in the Snack Food 20 and outlines the actions that these companies, and the front runners who are pushing ahead on their commitments, can and must take to rapidly cut Conflict Palm Oil from our food system.

Just a few years ago, very few people in the U.S. had heard of Conflict Palm Oil, but the profile of palm oil has since gone prime time, with voluminous media attention including feature programs on Showtime, HBO and CNN. Now a high profile issue, the controversial but popular ingredient is found in roughly half the packaged goods sold in grocery stores. Over the past 18 months, consumer demand has successfully pressured many of the largest players in the palm oil industry to make public commitments to clean up their supply chains. The question many are asking now is what do all these commitments really mean and how much more is needed before the palm oil industry is truly no longer driving deforestation, human rights abuses, land conflict and climate change.

The new progress report finds that many laggards have a long way to go to cut Conflict Palm Oil from their supply chains, including well-known brands worth millions like Mac N Cheese, Sara Lee, Pepperidge Farm, Top Ramen, Cup Noodle, and Weight Watchers.

“As palm oil plantations continue to spread across Indonesia, Malaysia and beyond to Africa, Papua New Guinea and Latin America, endangered rainforests are falling faster than ever and systematic abuse of communities and workers’ rights remains rife throughout the industry,” said Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “While a new global benchmark has recently been set for what is acceptable as truly responsible palm oil production, much more is needed to drive real change to the ground. Remaining laggards like PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz, Nissin Foods and Toyo Suisan have no excuses left not to act now and do everything in their power to root out and eliminate bad actors from their supply chains wherever they are found.”

Nestlé and Unilever, two companies considered to be early movers in addressing their palm oil problem, are shown in the report to now be falling behind the front runner companies demanding an end to the destruction of forests, peatlands and human rights abuses across their entire operations, not merely the plantations they control directly. To be true leaders, Nestlé and Unilever need to take immediate action to transform their global palm oil supply chains.

“Adopting clear commitments is a crucial first step––but commitments alone are meaningless if they are not tied to actionable, time-bound implementation plans. A major challenge now lies in transforming the Snack Food 20 company commitments into real change on the ground for forests and the communities that depend on them,” says Ms. Tillack

RAN will continue to put each company’s commitment to the test by demanding that they cut suppliers caught trafficking Conflict Palm Oil, with a special scrutiny on any sourcing from the high priority conservation region of the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra.

You can download the full report online at www.ran.org/sf20scorecard.

Also see RAN’s initial Snack Food 20 Conflict Palm Oil report, Conflict Palm Oil: How U.S. snack food brands are Contributing to Orangutan Extinction, Climate Change and Human Rights violations, from September 2013.

 

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