Chicago Activists call on Hillshire Brands to Cut Conflict Palm Oil.

posted by Rainforest Action Network

For over 2 years, RAN has exposed Hillshire Brands, and 19 other snack food giants, as companies at risk of using Conflict Palm Oil in their products. Hillshire Brands is one of the companies lagging farthest behind in the Snack Food 20 group of companies and has refused to take action while its peers have begun reforming their palm oil supply chains.

Despite thousands of phone calls and emails, we’ve gotten little-to-no response from Hillshire (which has recently been acquired by Tyson Foods) representatives. Hillshire Brands is the producer of Sara Lee cakes and pies, products that are laden with Conflict Palm Oil, yet it is clear that the company is not yet taking the rainforest destruction and violations of human rights in its products seriously.


Activists held a banner and images of destroyed rainforests outside of the Hillshire Brands headquarters in Chicago.

On August 10th, the Palm Oil Action Team ramped up the pressure on Hillshire Brands. The day of action started when nine Chicago-based RAN activists and I took the Snack Food 20 campaign to the front door of Hillshire’s enormous headquarters in downtown Chicago, IL as the office opened for business. We held a banner saying “Hillshire Brands: CUT CONFLICT PALM OIL” along with images of forests that have been destroyed for palm oil production. We explained to employees the dangers of Conflict Palm Oil and called on them to speak up and demand that their company immediately cut Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain.


Palm Oil Action Leader, Cailie, talks with a Hillshire employee on their way into work.

During the day of the action in Chicago, thousands of activists around the world supported the campaign by taking action online — and successfully took over the company’s  Facebook page with our demand to cut Conflict Palm Oil. You can leave your own comment (and see the massive outpouring of support for the elimination of Conflict Palm Oil from Sara Lee desserts) here.


Four Chicago activist show images of the rainforest destruction created for Conflict Palm Oil Production, in front of the Hillshire Brands headquarters.

So far, we still haven’t heard a peep from the decision makers at Hillshire Brands, or its parent company Tyson Foods. Because of the efforts of thousands of people just like you, Hillshire Brands has been put on notice! There is still much work to be done to move Hillshire Brands from its current status as a Snack Food 20 laggard to a leader, and we’ll need your help to make that happen. Click here to send a message to Hillshire Brands and demand that it address the destruction of rainforests and human rights abuse in its supply chain.

You could say something like:

Warning: Sara Lee pies and cakes may contain Conflict Palm Oil — cause of child labor, deforestation, and orangutan habitat destruction.

Hillshire Brands Company — maker of Sara Lee products — has fallen behind its peers. It must adopt a time-bound responsible palm oil policy now.


Chicago activists celebrate their successful action at the Hillshire Brands headquarters.


A big THANKS to the folks who made this action a success: Palm Oil Action Leaders Cailie, Jessica and Jacob and RAN activists Maria, Caroline, Dave, Joe, Jedd and Brian.