posted by Ethan Nuss

On Monday, activists stormed PepsiCo’s office in Manhattan to demand the snack food giant stop deforestation and exploitation. Watch the live stream of the action here.

Activists line up across the building lobby, holding signs and dressed as palm oil workers. Photo: Rae Breaux

For years, PepsiCo has sidestepped its massive Conflict Palm Oil problem. Time and time again, PepsiCo has been exposed for driving rainforest destruction, worker exploitation and climate pollution for the palm oil used to make its snack foods. Yet the company has failed to take the actions necessary to stop these devastating impacts to people and the planet.

That’s why activists took action in Manhattan on Monday.

Activists hold a banner in front of the building. Photo: Rae Breaux

During the lunchtime rush, activists disrupted the flow of PepsiCo employees in their lobby, while holding signs and chanting. Anyone entering or exiting the building wouldn’t have been able to ignore the protesters.

Activists shout out palm oil worker stories of hazardous working conditions. Photo: Rae Breaux

Activists disrupted business as usual to stand in solidarity with palm oil workers — who work under exploitative conditions — by amplifying their harrowing stories. Taking turns, the activists shouted out descriptions of the harsh working conditions palm oil workers face. The specific stories shared were parts of testimonies given to RAN by workers on Indofood plantations, PepsiCo’s Indonesian business partner.

“This is the story of a woman named J who works on a palm oil plantation of PepsiCo’s business partner, Indofood. J works spreading toxic pesticides but is not given the proper protective gear. Her skin burns, her lungs are irritated and some days she has trouble seeing at the end of a shift. This is hazardous working conditions!”

In response, the group shouted back:

“This Is How PepsiCo Profits!”

After police arrived, activists moved onto the sidewalk in front of the building to continue calling out PepsiCo for its ties to Conflict Palm Oil.

The protest continued in the front of the building. People walking past were given flyers explaining why protesters were there. Photo: Rae Breaux

The protest continued through the lunch hour, getting the attention of many people including the building owner. Photo: Rae Breaux

Everyday that PepsiCo fails to take adequate action to fix its Conflict Palm Oil problem is another day that vital rainforests fall and workers are exploited in the name of cheap snack foods. We won’t let PepsiCo escape its responsibility.

As the world’s largest globally distributed snack food company, it is time PepsiCo do what’s right: break its ties to Conflict Palm Oil.

You can join the protest by calling PepsiCo now! Activists made noise on the outside, make sure PepsiCo gets our message inside.