What does PepsiCo have to do with child labor, species extinction, rainforest destruction and massive carbon pollution from deforestation? Unfortunately, everything.
The ecological devastation of Conflict Palm Oil is evident: we know that palm oil, found in half of all packaged goods in your local grocery store, is driving the last stands of Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers, and rhinos to extinction. We’ve watched as hundreds of thousands of acres of critical rainforest and peatlands have been cleared, drained and burned for palm oil plantation expansion.
3.5 million people work in dire conditions on palm oil plantations
There is also the human cost behind palm oil: the roughly 3.5 million workers on those palm oil plantations, suffering under the same system of devastation.
Conflict Palm Oil Laggards like PepsiCo are turning a blind eye as the company sources its palm oil from companies who abuse workers on their palm oil plantations, cheating them out of fair pay and benefits, exposing them to toxic chemicals, forcing them to bring their children and spouses to work and even sometimes trafficking and enslaving these workers. All for cheap Conflict Palm Oil.
Let’s make no mistake: Conflict Palm Oil is an exploitative, extractive industry, and one that seeks to squeeze the most profit out of the process as possible. This means inadequate environmental safeguards, and this also means exploited workers.
Global snack food giant PepsiCo uses hundreds of thousands of tons of palm oil a year. As it seeks to strengthen its bottom line and solidify its position as the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world, PepsiCo remains a major laggard in the Snack Food 20, falling further and further behind its peers, as it churns out inadequate paper commitments that leave major loopholes for its Indonesian palm oil supplier and snack food producer, Indofood.
We’ve got PepsiCo’s attention, and the company is feeling the heat.
PepsiCo’s customers around the planet have clearly communicated their demands for the company to clean up its act, and its peers––including half of the Snack Food 20 companies targeted by RAN––have begun to show it can be done. But over the course of the last two years, PepsiCo has failed over and over again to address its Conflict Palm Oil problem where it matters most––on the forest frontlines in Indonesia.
We’re standing with palm oil workers and amplifying their voices around the world as they demand an end to exploitation. Bringing this message directly to PepsiCo, we’re calling the company out for its refusal to take meaningful action to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products.
PepsiCo relies on palm oil made cheaply, with exploited labor and forest destruction, to keep its profits high. But we know that for our forests and our collective future, we can’t and we won’t let that continue. We’ll stand with workers, with communities at the frontlines of palm oil expansion, and with the critical ecosystems that hang in the balance.
Together, we can drive real change to the forest floor, and break the link between human and workers’ rights violations, deforestation and climate destruction, and the snack foods that line our grocery store shelves.