Greenpeace supporters are moving giants. The millions behind Greenpeace give our campaigns the power that pushes companies to protect our planet. Last week was proof.
We have launched the Tiger Challenge, demanding big players in the industry to remove deforestation from their supply chains and become tiger-friendly. And already, three large consumer companies have announced commitments to only buy palm oil free from forest destruction. With palm oil as the largest driver of deforestation in Indonesia, this is great news for the wildlife and communities that depend on these forests.
There is still a lot of work to be done, but this sure is a step forward. Meet the latest movers and shakers
Unilever, the maker of Dove soap, Breyers Ice Cream and Flora Margarine, has been talking about sustainable palm oil for many years. Last week, Unilever released their No Deforestation policy outlining how they will work with suppliers to "halt deforestation, protect peat lands and drive positive economic and social impact for people and communities". While Unilever still has an unambitious timeline of 2020, the company has committed to ensure it knows where the palm oil they source is coming from in 2014.
Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, followed suit with a public commitment to make a No Deforestation palm oil policy that will "address the leading causes of deforestation and create the optimal balance between the conservation of the environment, community needs and economic benefit and viability."
Ferraro specifically calls for the protection of all forests, peatlands as well as respecting human and workers' rights, and has committed for all its suppliers to meet these requirements by 2015 at the latest. Ferrero has also shown support for the Palm Oil Innovation Group - a group of palm oil producers and NGOs committed to going beyond the RSPO to break their links with forest destruction.
And last but not least, Mondelez, one of the largest snack food companies in the world, maker of Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolate and Ritz crackers, took the first step last Friday by announcing new commitments, especially on No Deforestation: "Specifically, palm oil development should not take place in Primary Forest, High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests, or use of fire in plantation operations." With this, Mondelez become the first company to take up our Tiger Challenge!
There are many questions in its commitment that Greenpeace will raise with Mondelēz, especially on its very unambitious timeline of 2020. While Unilever is committing to traceability by 2014 and Ferrero to full No Deforestation by 2015, Mondelez only sets a goal for 2020. Consumers can’t wait six years for their products to be tiger-friendly! We expect that companies address this with more urgency.
Mondelez also continues to refer to the RSPO as the best system to meet its commitments, and it is unclear how it will address its relationship with known forest destroyer, Wilmar International.
Nevertheless, it's a step in the right direction.
What's the Tiger Challenge?
The companies in the Tiger Challenge purchase palm oil products through Wilmar International, a notorious trader in forest destruction. Based on an analysis of sourcing policies and responses to questionnaires that were sent to the companies, 'The Tiger Challenge' reveals that many brands rely solely on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to guarantee to their consumers that their supply chains are free from 'dirty' palm oil.
The RSPO, as we showed here, cannot guarantee that your products are free from forest destruction. Other companies like Colgate Palmolive have failed to even meet their own deadlines to source 'sustainable' palm through the RSPO.
With every company that says no to dirty palm oil, the pressure is on the world's largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International, to transform the industry and save the home of the Sumatran tiger.
Stay tuned, and see who else will take the Tiger Challenge.
Areeba Hamid is a forest campaigner at Greenpeace International