Cargill just reported record profits of $4.2 billion dollars for its 2010 fiscal year, a 63% increase over the previous year. As the world’s biggest agricultural trader — and the largest importer of rainforest-destroying palm oil into the US — it’s easy to see how the company achieved such huge numbers.
From Girl Scout cookies to laundry detergent to lipstick, Cargill’s palm oil finds its way into almost every American home and many more around the world. Chances are, there’s some of that palm oil in your cabinet or laundry room right now.
So what does Cargill’s palm oil really cost?
The sad truth is that Cargill’s palm oil operation has been run with the ruthless mentality of a cutthroat trader: buy low, sell high, and to hell with the inconvenience of considering the impact on people and planet. This has meant turning a blind eye to slave labor, the eviction of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral land, and the destruction of rainforest habitat for endangered orangutans. Record profits are certainly nothing to celebrate when they come at the expense of record deforestation.
We know we have Cargill’s attention. Because of the pressure RAN’s members and followers have helped build so far, Cargill has begun taking steps to clean up its tainted supply chain. It still has quite a long way to go and we’re going to need everyone’s help to push Cargill all the way.
Are you in?