Press Releases

May 09, 2017

Teamsters, IUF Come Out In Support of Indonesian Palm Oil Workers; Pressure PepsiCo On Lack of Action Against Child Labor, Worker Exploitation For Palm Oil

Major trade unions demand action following release of a new report which reveals connections between the snack food giant and major importers of palm oil connected to environmental and social scandal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

CONTACT:

RAN: Emma Rae Lierley, Emma@ran.org, +1 425.281.1989

IUF: Sue Longley, sue.longley@iuf.org, +41 22.879.0517

Teamsters: Galen Munroe, gmunroe@teamster.org, +1 202.624.6911

San Francisco, CA - Major trade unions the Teamsters and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)have both issued letters lending support to a years-long public campaign and calling out PepsiCo for its continued inaction around labor abuses in its palm oil supply chain. The unions’ letters come just as PepsiCo’s shareholders met for its Annual General Meeting, and a week after a report was released by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), titled “Profits over People and the Planet, Not ‘Performance with Purpose’; Exposing PepsiCo’s Real Agenda,” which revealed new connections between the snack food giant and the six biggest importers of palm oil into the US––each importer associated with environmental and social scandal, despite all having made commitments intended to address conflicts in their supply chains.

IUF general secretary Ron Oswald commented, “‘Profit over People and the Planet’ confirms our findings that there are significant human rights abuses taking place in PepsiCo’s palm oil supply chain, specifically in its joint venture with Indofood. PepsiCo must fulfill its international obligations by ensuring that Indofood cleans up its act.”

The RAN report finds that PepsiCo knowingly continues to source its palm oil from suppliers with documented child labor, worker exploitation and land rights abuses on their plantations.

The report also provides new, hard-sought Indonesian customs export data showing that, as recently as November 2016, one of PepsiCo’s suppliers was shipping palm oil into the US from ports and refineries known to be sourcing palm oil from companies destroying the globally vital Leuser Ecosystem.

“As both the Teamsters and the IUF state in their letters, PepsiCo has a responsibility to its workers––both to those in the US, and to those on Indofood and other suppliers’ palm oil plantations. Those palm oil workers make the production of PepsiCo products possible,” said Robin Averbeck, Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “PepsiCo has a moral obligation to confront the fact that the Conflict Palm Oil currently in its supply chain, and possibly in hundreds of its products across the globe, is in fact deadly for people and the planet.”

The report reveals emerging trends toward an increase in palm oil imports to the US from Indonesia in general, and provides some shocking facts about PepsiCo’s palm oil use specifically, including the fact that the company continues to ignore a loophole that excludes its joint venture partner Indofood from PepsiCo’s palm oil policy. PepsiCo has continued its partnership with Indofood without consequence, despite substantial documentation of Indofood’s involvement in deforestation and human rights abuses, including use of child labor and land rights conflicts. Others with exposure to Indofood, including the Norwegian Pension Fund––the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund––have begun to pull their financing from the company due to these risks.

The report names the top financial individuals and institutions, including major institutions like Vanguard, BlackRock, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and TIAA, that are backing and profiting from PepsiCo’s use of Conflict Palm Oil, exposing investors to increasing environmental, social and governance risks given the delays in reforming its palm oil supply chain.  

 

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Download a full copy of the “Profits over People and the Planet, Not ‘Performance with Purpose’” report, here.

 

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