Bones from an orangutan near Tanjung Puting National Park © ULET IFANSASTI
Proctor & Gamble claims that an astonishing 4.8 billion people worldwide use their products, which include anti-dandruff shampoo Head & Shoulders. What many of these consumers don't know though is that they are being made complicit in the killing of orangutans, elephants and the endangered Sumatran tiger when they use these products. This is because these products are produced using dirty palm oil from plantations that have been cut out of the Indonesian rainforest.
The body of a young urangutan © Centre for Orangutan Protection
For 12 months, Greenpeace has been documenting how several plantations that are connected to Proctor & Gamble have been destroying the habitat of these spectacular species. Horrifically, we actually found an orangutan cemetery on the border between one palm oil plantation and Tanjung Puting National Park where the dead orangutans were hidden and buried. The images of these dead orangutans says more than words ever could about this disgraceful deforestation.
Besides being a habitat for orangutans, Indonesia's rainforest is also home to many other endangered species like pygymy elephants and the Sumatran tiger, whose population is as low as 400 individuals. While this alone is absolutely appalling, this cynical relationship with nature and wildlife is just one of the many sinister consequences of deforestation. It is not only these examples of endangered wildlife that are paying the price though. Local people are also sometimes displaced and lose their livelihoods, while the country's population suffers from air pollution from forest burnings, which is all a consequence of deforestation for dirty palm oil plantations.
The skull of an orangutan
The palm oil that is found in many of the products we use daily; from food to cleaning products, shampoo to chocolate, is one of the main reasons why Indonesia's raniforests are disappearing. Every minute, an area the size of nine Olympic swimming pools is cleared to make way for palm oil plantations.
Proctor & Gamble has no excuse for failing to ensure that their products do not contribute to further deforestation of the rainforest. If enough of us act together, they will have to listen. Send them an email now and demand that they clean up their supply chains.
Here's a video detailing Procter & Gamble's dirty secret. and take action to make them change. While P&G were running their 'Thank you Mom' ads during the Winter Olympics, the companies they buy their dirty palm oil from were making orphans out of orangutans. (Warning - the video contains distressing images)
Michael Hedelain is a digital campaigner with Greenpeace Denmark.