Orang-utan suited activists scale a Unilever plant to protest Unilever's use of palm oil from Indonesian forests.
Our research shows that Unilever, maker of Dove and many other
well-known brands, is buying palm oil from companies that are
destroying valuable rainforest and peatland areas; bad news not
only for the millions of people who depend on these for their way
of life and endangered species such as the orang-utan, but also for
the global climate.
UPDATE (1 May 2008):
Unilever (Dove's parent company) is feeling the heat from customers
like you, and has made a positive statement.
Read about it here. We'llmeet with them soon to talk about the
details. For now, we need moresignatures to
this open letter and keep spreading the word.
In the United Kingdom, at the Unilever factory at Port
Sunlight, near Liverpool, sixty Greenpeace activists occupied the
production lines, while in London employees at Unilever's HQ were
greeted on their way to work by screeching mating calls and
orang-utans clambering all over the building. At
Unilever's Rotterdam HQ, in the Netherlands, six activists
scaled the waterfront building and hung a banner reading,
"Unilever, Don't Destroy the Forests". In Rome, another ten
orang-utans stopped Unilever
employees entering their Italian HQ. Jumping out of a huge box
marked, "Stop Dove from Destroying Rainforests," the orang-utans
handed out flyers outlining the palm oil situation and demanding a
Why Unilever? For a start, Unilever is one of the largest users
of palm oil in the world, funnelling up to 1 in every 20 litres
produced from Indonesia into some of its many products. This means
Unilever has a huge influence on the way palm oil is made.
Further, as chair of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
(RSPO), Unilever has even more clout. The RSPO is a group of
retailers, manufacturers and suppliers whose aim is to create
standards for the production of sustainable palm oil. As things
stand, however, it's little more than a greenwashing operation, as
card-carrying members of the RSPO continue to be involved in the
destruction of Indonesia's rainforests.
Following its creation in 2002, the RSPO set up a certification
scheme, but six years later not a drop of certified oil is yet
available. Even when certified palm oil does become available later
this year, there's nothing to prevent it being blended with
non-certified palm oil. This will make it impossible for RSPO
members to guarantee that their palm oil does not come from
recently deforested areas. All this was documented in our '
Cooking the Climate' report, produced last November, in
which Unilever featured prominently. Since then, we've collected
fresh evidence of Unilever's role in deforestation.
Today's actions coincide with the release of our new report, '
How Unilever's suppliers are Burning Up Borneo'. The
report details how some of Unilever's key palm oil suppliers -
Sinar Mas, Wilmar, Sime Darby and IOI among them - are devastating
forest and peatland areas in Central Kalimantan. Not only are
millions of people who live in or rely on the forests for their
survival being put at risk, but as these areas are destroyed many
endangered species are at even greater risk of extinction,
including Sumatran tigers, Javan rhinoceroses and orang-utans.
There are also devastating consequences for the climate. As the
forests and tropical peatlands of Indonesia are destroyed and
converted into oil palm plantations, huge volumes of greenhouse
gases are released, accelerating climate change. Indonesia is the
third largest emitter of these gases in the world, in large part
due to the destruction of its forests at the hands of the palm oil
This is not great going for a company that paints itself green
and responsible: take a look at Unilever's website, where it makes
a big deal of its efforts to be both environmentally and socially
responsible. As our report shows, when it comes to palm oil the
reality is very different!
We want Unilever to clean up its act, not just with the palm oil
it uses in Dove but in all its products. To start the ball rolling,
we've devised a three-point action plan for Unilever:
- support an immediate moratorium on the destruction of
rainforest and peatland areas in Indonesia to grow palm oil;
- stop trading with palm oil suppliers who are involved in this
- pressure the RSPO to also support a moratorium.
Talk to Dove
Unilever, the maker of Dove beauty products, is buying palm oil from suppliers who destroy Indonesia's rainforests. We've got the proof. Unilever is causing forest destruction, species extinction and climate change.
To maintain our independence, Greenpeace doesn't accept corporate donations. That gives us the freedom to bite the hand of any government or business. It also makes us entirely dependent on people like you to keep us going. Please help.