Pulling back the shower curtain: Find out about P&G's dirty secret!

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Feature Story - 27 February, 2014
Procter & Gamble claims that nearly 5 billion people use its products, among them the anti-dandruff shampoo Head & Shoulders. But what's not so squeaky clean is that P&G is making those billions of consumers unknowingly part of an environmental scandal.

Hey Head & Shoulders, commit to Zero Deforestation!

Greenpeace has revealed the result of a year-long investigation showing P&G is sourcing palm oil from companies connected to widespread forest devastation. Its sourcing policies also expose its supply chain to forest fires and habitat destruction that is further pushing the Sumatran tiger to the edge of extinction.

Baby orangutans at the Orangutan Foundation International Care Center in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan. Expansion of oil palm plantations is destroying their forest habitat. 09/14/2013

Baby orangutans at the Orangutan Foundation International Care Center in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan. Expansion of oil palm plantations is destroying their forest habitat. 09/14/2013

Palm oil is a common ingredient in detergents, shampoos, cosmetics and other household goods that the company manufactures. That's not to say palm oil is the problem, but palm oil from forest destruction – dirty palm oil – is.

So how does this affect you? Well, this means that every time you and your family reach for a bottle of Head & Shoulders, from the supermarket shelf to the bathroom cabinet, P&G is making you a part of this scandal.

Greenpeace investigative team witnesses the newly cleared forest in an oil palm plantation owned by PT Wana Catur Jaya Utama concession, a subsidiary of BW Plantation, which is a palm oil supplier to Procter & Gamble in Central Kalimantan.

Greenpeace investigative team witnesses the newly cleared forest in an oil palm plantation owned by PT Wana Catur Jaya Utama concession, a subsidiary of BW Plantation, which is a palm oil supplier to Procter & Gamble in Central Kalimantan.

The Evidence

Our investigation shows that P&G buys from several companies whose palm oil comes from controversial plantations.

Greenpeace found that orangutan habitat was being cleared in plantations linked to P&G's supply chain. Land used for palm oil cultivation owned by the BW Plantation Group, a company connected to P&G's supply chain, also correlates with the deaths and burials of orangutans next to the Tanjung Puting National Park. In other cases, Greenpeace documented on-going forest clearance within the concessions of two producers known to directly supply P&G.

A remaining log from the recent clearance of orangutan habitat in inside the PT Wana Catur Jaya Utama palm oil concession in Mantangai, Kapuas district, Central Kalimantan. PT WCJU is a subsidiary of BW Plantation. 02/21/2014

A remaining log from the recent clearance of orangutan habitat in inside the PT Wana Catur Jaya Utama palm oil concession in Mantangai, Kapuas district, Central Kalimantan. PT WCJU is a subsidiary of BW Plantation. 02/21/2014

Our analysis of the company's sourcing policies also mean that the palm oil in its supply chain could be coming from companies linked to forest fires and habitat destruction that is pushing the Sumatran tiger ever closer to the brink.

Companies without strong policies to cut deforestation from their products are exposed to illegal practices in high-risk areas, like the province of Riau in Sumatra. A prime example of this is the PT Rokan Adi Raya concession, which includes tiger habitat plus forested deep peat, and experienced large-scale forest clearance and uncontrolled fires last year. In June 2013, over 150 fire hotspots were recorded within this concession. Many of P&G's palm oil suppliers ship from Dumai, the main port of Riau province.

Smoke from smouldering fires obscures an excavator digging a peatland drainage canal in the PT Rokan Adiraya Plantation oil palm plantation near Sontang village in Rokan Hulu. 06/23/2013

Smoke from smouldering fires obscures an excavator digging a peatland drainage canal in the PT Rokan Adiraya Plantation oil palm plantation near Sontang village in Rokan Hulu. 06/23/2013

What can we do?

It's time for us to make P&G change its ways.

There are some companies that are already moving to eliminate forest destruction from their supply chains. Among them is the cereal stalwart, Kellogg's, which has committed to removing deforestation from its supply chain, as well as L'Oréal, Unilever, Ferrero and Nestlé. The world's largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International, has also committed to a No Deforestation policy, which – along with the Palm Oil Innovation Group - builds on the business case for responsibly grown palm oil.

We've confronted P&G for the last eight months with how it is exposing consumers to forest destruction. Instead of taking urgent action it is trying to greenwash its actions. It's time Head & Shoulders commits 100% to forest protection and stop making its customers a part of the Sumatran tiger's extinction.

A solitary rainforest tree remains standing in a recently planted palm oil plantation on former orang-utan habitat inside the PT Karya Makmur Abadi Estate II palm oil concession. PT KMA II is a subsidiary of the Malaysian Kuala Lumpar Kepong Berhad (KLK) group. 02/24/2014

A solitary rainforest tree remains standing in a recently planted palm oil plantation on former orang-utan habitat inside the PT Karya Makmur Abadi Estate II palm oil concession. PT KMA II is a subsidiary of the Malaysian Kuala Lumpar Kepong Berhad (KLK) group. 02/24/2014

There's no excuse for inaction.

Already over 200,000 people have joined the movement demanding forest-friendly products. Now tell P&G to clean up its act and Protect Paradise!

Click here to read Procter & Gamble's Dirty Secret and the full set of findings into our investigations of its supply chains.

Bustar Maitar is head of the Indonesia Forest Campaign at Greenpeace International

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