Public's questions on PKE force Fonterra to abandon social marketing

Press release - October 29, 2010
Fonterra has apparently 'pulled the plug' on its Facebook page, rather than answer the questions being submitted to it by members of the public on the company's use of palm kernel expeller (PKE).

The questions were sparked first by Greenpeace NZ's trip to Indonesia in September to document the ongoing destruction of South East Asia's rainforests by the palm products industry and then by a spoof milk ad dubbed "The milk ad they don't want you to see."

Greenpeace had been encouraging its supporters to ask the company to explain its actions.

Fonterra has failed to account for the fact that the vast majority of its PKE comes from deforested land.

"Social marketing is something that most large corporates are now engaged in. But Fonterra's extraordinary refusal to answer questions on its use of palm kernel has forced it to remove itself from this increasingly important arena. It's bizarre," says Dmitry Kuznetsov, Greenpeace New Zealand Online Campaigner.

Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand Senior Climate Campaigner, says "Fonterra's refusing to front up because they know that - despite all their excuses - using palm kernel helps cause deforestation, and that makes the climate crisis even more serious. What's worse, many of the rainforests of South East Asia grow on peatlands, and they also store carbon - unless they're drained to grow palm."  

Based on Statistics NZ figures, more than a million tonnes of PKE is expected to be imported into this country this year. Fonterra's farmers are expected to spend NZ$230 million on the feed this year, much of which will wind up in the pockets of those ordering the bulldozers into the forest habitats of species like the orang-utan.

Only six per cent of the palm products industry's global output is grown according to the industry's weak sustainability standards.

Fonterra's farmer shareholders buy almost a quarter of the global supply of PKE.

Greenpeace has created an alternative Facebook page for Fonterra, which can be found here:

The Google cache of Fonterra's defunct Facebook page can still be found here.

Greenpeace's spoof Fonterra TV advertisement can be viewed here: