A Sweet Victory: Nestle Releases Global Forest Protection Policy

Feature story - May 17, 2010
A big "Thank You!" to the hundreds of thousands of you who supported our two-month Nestlé campaign by e-mailing and calling the company or by spreading the campaign message via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles. This morning, Nestlé finally announced a break for the orang-utan — as well as Indonesian rainforests and peatlands — by committing to stop using products that come from rainforest destruction.

The new policy commits Nestlé to identify and exclude companies from its supply chain if they own or manage "high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation." This would apply to notorious Sinar Mas, a palm oil and paper supplier that Greenpeace has repeatedly caught destroying the  Paradise Forests in Southeast Asia, if it fails to meet Nestlé's new criteria. The new Nestlé policy also has implications for Cargill, one of Nestlé's palm oil suppliers that purchases from Sinar Mas.

Nestle thanks for the breakIn addition, Nestlé also agreed to support our call to protect peatlands and institute a deforestation moratorium in Indonesia.

Despite these actions, Nestle has plenty of work to do to implement its ambitious new commitments. Greenpeace will be watching closely to make sure it does.

Greenpeace will also be making sure that other large consumer product companies and retailers take steps to clean up their palm oil and pulp and paper supply chains. The Nestle policy is a model for other companies to build on.

Sweet Success: Thanks to YOU!

Nestlé's announcement sends a strong message to the palm oil and paper industry that rainforest destruction is not an acceptable practice in today's global marketplace - and it wouldn't have happened without you. From the very beginning, the strength of our Nestlé campaign has been the truly amazing support from the public - online and off. That includes both concerned consumers and social media-savvy activists.

The support from the online community has been clear since day one when our 'Have a break?' video's removal from YouTube sparked online calls of censorship, several spin-off uploads to YouTube, and drove hundreds of thousands of views on the video within hours of it being re-uploaded to Vimeo - the total number of views on all versions of the video is now over 1.5 million.

Facebook was another key online arena for the Nestlé campaign, where a steady stream of pressure was applied to the company via comments you left on its Facebook Fan page. While many of you also "wore your support on your sleeve" Facebook-style by changing your profile pictures to images of orang-utans, rainforest, and our campaign Kit Kat "killer" logo.*

Recipe for success: Social media combined with direct action

Nestle FB picThe power of social media combined dramatically with our direct actions to deliver the message directly to Nestlé at events like its Annual General Meeting on April 15th. Outside the meeting venue, shareholders were greeted by protesting orangutans as they arrived, while inside our activists hid in the ceiling in order to drop down over shareholders' heads just as the meeting began, deploying banners asking Nestlé to give orangutans a break. Online our supporters were sending tweets to shareholders throughout the meeting.

Online and offline the message to Nestlé has been strong and relentless over the past two months - give rainforests and orangutans a break. All of it - from protesting orangutans on the streets to Facebook status updates - has brought us to today's commitment. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped us get here - now go on and announce it to the world. Please boast about your involvement in the success of our Nestlé campaign on Facebook and Twitter - or any of your other social network profiles. You deserve it!

Our goal remains the complete protection of Indonesia's rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands. We will be watching Nestlé closely to make sure it sticks to its word and puts its new policy into action fast.

We will also continue to investigate and expose unscrupulous palm oil and paper companies that destroy rainforests, and keep the pressure on the Indonesian government to act. In the meantime, today's new Nestlé "no deforestation footprint" policy is something to celebrate. We hope it will inpsire action by other international companies - like Carrefour and Wal-mart - to hear our message that there is no room for forest destruction in the products we buy.

Watch "Have a break?"*

Images from the campaign

*Note: 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.

Take Action

In June, President Obama will visit Indonesia as people and companies around the world are calling for Paradise Forest protection. Encourage him to do the same.