Protest Calls Out Mondelēz on Forest Destruction, Human Rights Violations, and Climate Inaction as Company Holds Shareholder Meeting

Protest Outside Mondelēz AGM Calls Out Company on Forest Destruction, Human Rights Violations, and Climate Inaction

Activists deliver more than 150,000 petition signatures to major consumer goods company, demanding action

**High-res photo and video available upon request 

Chicago, IL –  Today, commodity giant Mondelēz faced pressure outside of it’s annual general meeting, for the company’s failure to address its role in driving the destruction of climate-critical forests around the world. A broad coalition of concerned local residents and national climate justice advocates gathered in front of the company’s global headquarters as it hosted its annual general meeting of shareholders. 

Mondelēz’s leadership has known for years that, amid the growing global climate crisis, their operations are connected with violating Indigenous land rights and the destruction of some of the world’s highest conservation value rainforest in Indonesia,” said Daniel Carillo, Forest Program Director at Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “Instead of taking real action, the company has issued seemingly meaningless promises while the Indigenous communities protecting these invaluable rainforests face continued threats. Mondelēz has the power to change that.”

The protest comes on the heels of years of public pressure from shareholders, global environmental and human rights advocates, and Chicago residents, calling on the company to reform its practices. Advocates have highlighted that Mondelez –– a major purchaser of forest-risk commodities like palm oil, tree pulp, and paper –– is failing to live up to its own claims and commitments. 

A recent report from Rainforest Action Network (RAN), focused on the region known as the Heart of Borneo in North and East Kalimantan, details how one dynamic Indigenous community called Long Isun has been fighting against logging operations on their land and for their legal land rights to be recognized for over a decade, facing intense threats and criminalization along the way. 

Mondelēz and a number of major international brands are connected to the case, despite adopting leading No Deforestation, No Peatland, No Exploitation policies. These companies continue to do business with the powerful conglomerate Harita Group –– one of the most influential corporate groups in the palm oil and timber sectors in Indonesia –– which controls two logging companies holding the rights to develop Long Isun’s forests. A formal complaint has been raised to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), one of the world’s largest paper and timber certification systems, over the Harita Group’s violation of Long Isun’s traditional rights and its refusal to permanently withdraw the plans to log the community’s customary lands. In 2017, the FSC revoked the certificate of one Harita Group company over the land conflict in Long Isun, confirming violations against its standards. In February 2023, the FSC announced that it will not pursue an alternative dispute resolution process with the Harita Group after another one of its timber companies had its certificate suspended due to major non-conformities with FSC requirements.

“In defending our source of life, including the forest, land, water, and our dignity, I was arrested for 109 days,” said Long Isun community member Theodor Tekwan Ajat, called Tekwan, Head of the Forest Management Organization of Long Isun. “Until this day, my status is still listed as a suspect and I am required to report to the police.” Tekwan was imprisoned and criminalized by local police without charges ––  a tactic that Long Isun believes was employed by the primary logging company in conflict with the community, with the support of the police, to coerce the community into accepting the logging operation.

RAN is calling on Mondelēz, and other connected brands, to enforce their sourcing policies and require that their supplier –– the Harita Group –– adheres to these policies across all of the Harita Group’s operations, including their proposed timber operations that overlap with the customary lands of the Long Isun community.