Greenpeace Report Links Nestlé to Rainforest Destruction

Feature story - March 17, 2010
When biting into some popular Nestlé products, you could be taking a bite out of precious rainforests. A Greenpeace report shows Nestlé has purchased palm oil linked to Paradise Forest destruction in Southeast Asia.

Nestle brands

A wide variety of Nestlé products contain ingredients derived from palm oil.*

Nestlé uses palm oil to make a wide array of its products including Power Bar, Coffee Mate, Nestle Crunch Crisp, and Maggi Soup mixes. In the last three years, Nestlé's use of palm oil has nearly doubled.

A growing demand for palm oil globally is fueling the destruction of rainforests in Indonesia to make way for expanding palm plantations. Fire is often used to clear forests, causing massive, polluting blazes. Illegal canals are cut into ancient peatlands, draining water and releasing methane and other potent greenhouse gases.

Click here to tell Nestlé to stop destroying rainforests for palm oil

Vast tracts of Indonesian rainforest are being destroyed to make way for palm oil palm plantations.

The destruction of Paradise Forests is taking place at a break-neck pace. In 2007, Indonesia received a World Record from the Guiness Book for the worst deforestation rate in history. Meanwhile, the greenhouse gas emissions stemming from forest and peatland destruction has made Indonesia the world's largest climate polluter after China and the United States.

Channels like these are dug by plantation companies to drain carbon-rich peatland, before the area is cleared and burnt in preparation for planting.

The expansion of palm oil plantations is also putting people directly at risk. Much of the forest and peatland destruction is illegal, running over the rights and livelihoods of local communities and indigenous peoples who have depended on Paradise Forests for thousands of years.

On top of that, dwindling habitat is pushing sensitive wildlife like Sumatran tigers and critically endangered orangutans closer to extinction.

Nestlé palm oil supplier Sinar Mas is responsible for considerable rainforest and orangutan habitat destruction.

Sinar Mas: Notorious Forest Destroyer

Sinar Mas is the largest producer of palm oil in Indonesia. It supplies many food, drink, cosmetic and biofuel companies worldwide, including Nestlé. Sinar Mas is also breaking Indonesian law by clearing protected forests for its palm oil plantations.

Update 04/27/10: We've just released a report detailing new evidence of Sinar Mas' rainforest and peatland destruction.

The Greenpeace report "Caught Red-Handed: How Nestle's Use of Palm Oil is Having a Devastating Impact on Rainforest, the Climate and Orangutans" exposes the links between Nestlé and palm oil suppliers, including Sinar Mas, that are expanding their plantations into carbon-rich peatlands and rainforests.

Palm oil producers like Sinar Mas are destroying vast tracts of rainforest for palm oil, pushing orang-utans to the brink of extinction, endangering local communities' survival and accelerating climate change.

None of this should come as a surprise to Nestlé. Greenpeace has contacted the company with evidence of Sinar Mas' destructive practices many times. Despite this, Nestlé continues to use Sinar Mas' palm oil in its products internationally. Other leading companies have stopped buying from Sinar Mas as a result of its shocking environmental and social practices. Food and cosmetics giant Unilever canceled a $30 million dollar contract in 2009, while Kraft canceled its contract with Sinar Mas in February of 2010.

Bottom line: It is time for Nestlé to stop buying palm oil that comes from rainforest destruction. As the largest food and drink company in the world, Nestlé should be setting an example for the industry and pushing for the protection of Paradise Forests.

Read the full report: "Caught Red-Handed: How Nestlé's Use of Palm Oil is Having a Devastating Impact on Rainforest, The Climate and Orang-utans"

*Globally, KIT KAT is one of the best-known Nestlé products containing palm oil. In the United States, KIT KAT is licensed to Hershey Foods Corporation through an original agreement executed with Rowntree Products in 1969. In 1988, Nestlé purchased Rowntree and markets KIT KAT products worldwide outside of the United States. The Greenpeace report "Caught Red-Handed: How Nestlé Use of Palm Oil is Destroying Rainforests and the Climate" does not examine Hershey Foods Corporation palm oil sourcing.

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