Nestlé doesn't deserve a break

Feature story - 23 March, 2010
Nestlé has remained relatively silent since issuing its initial statement of contract cancellations with palm oil supplier Sinar Mas. This is despite the fact that it is still receiving a barrage of complaints and criticism via its Facebook page from people who recognize that Nestlé's concessions made last week are not enough to protect Indonesia's rainforests.

Nestlé is buying palm oil from companies who are destroying orang-utan habitat.

The contract cancellations do not go nearly far enough to protect Indonesian rainforests because Nestlé will still be using Sinar Mas palm oil, but just getting it from other suppliers.

In response to the ongoing criticism it has faced online Nestlé also began to circulate a Q & A on its palm oil use, which also included its commitment to using only "Certified Sustainable PAlm Oil" by 2015. Again, this is not a solution and it does go far enough. 2015 will be far too late for the already endangered orang-utan and Indonesia's rainforests - which are being deforested at the fastest rate of any major forested country in the world. Earning Indonesia an unfortunate place in The Guinness Book of World Records.

We will continue our campaign until they have removed Sinar Mas palm oil from their supply chain completely. Nestlé has much more to do before it can claim to have cleaned up its act and given rainforests a break. The online commmunity that has taken up this cause certainly agrees.

'Have a break?'

Since the launch Nestlé has faced continuing criticism online, first for its reaction to our 'Have a break?' video and then its mishandling of comments on its Facebook page.

Only a few hours after the launch of our spoof Kit Kat video Nestlé had it removed from YouTube - but this did not stop the video from being seen by thousands. After thirty hours the total number of views on the different versions of the video was over 180.000. It was re-posted many times over by people determined to get the word out that Nestle needs to clean up its act. As of today, 670.000 people have seen it and this number continues to climb.

This all followed protests on March 17th which took place across Europe as around one hundred Greenpeace activists, some dressed as orang-utans, went to Nestlé's headquarters and factories in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. They called on Nestlé staff to urge the company to stop using palm oil that's the result of forest destruction.

Nestlé uses palm oil in a wide array of its products - including Kit Kat. Demand for palm oil has been increasing so much that the companies that sell it are leveling rainforests in Indonesia  to make way for palm oil plantations.

19 April 2010

Greenpeace activists dressed as orangutans in front of Nestle's UK office.

Destroying the lungs of the planet

We need those rainforests. They play a crucial role in regulating our climate and absorbing CO2. The companies that produce palm oil are cutting down the lungs of the planet and contributing to making Indonesia the third largest carbon emitter after the United States and China.

Yes, you read that right. Deforestation is actually responsible for more carbon emissions than all the cars, trucks, planes, and automobiles in the world: 1/5 of total emissions.

But that's not all.  Deforestation is also trashing orang-utan habitat, pushing this already endangered species to the brink of extinction, and destroying the livelihoods of local people.

Bottom line: it's time for Nestlé to give rainforests a break and stop buying palm oil that comes from destroyed forests.

Nestlé is the largest food and drinks company in the world, and already a major consumer of palm oil - the last three years have seen Nestlé's use of palm oil almost double. Considering its size and influence, it should be setting an example for the industry and ensuring its palm oil is destruction free. Instead, palm oil from destroyed forests reamin in Nestlé's supply chain despite its announcement of contract cancellations with Sinar Mas, because other Nestlé suppliers buy from Sinar Mas.

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 Indonsian law by clearing protected forests for its palm oil plantations.

Greenpeace's new report launched today - 'Caught Red-Handed: How Nestlé's Use of Palm Oil is Having a Devastating Impact on Rainforest, the Climate and Orang-utans' - exposes the links between Nestlé and palm oil suppliers, including Sinar Mas, that are expanding their plantations into carbon-rich peatlands and rainforests. Not only are these areas key habitat for orang-utans, but also crucial carbon stores; the destruction of these areas is a major cause of Indonesia's rocketing carbon emissions.

None of this should come as a surprise to Nestlé. We have contacted them with evidence of Sinar Mas's practices many times, most recently in December, yet Nestlé will continue to use Sinar Mas palm oil in its products, including Kit Kat because its other palm oil suppliers - like Cargill - buy from Sinar Mas.

We know consumer activism works: we've seen it again and again.  The media coverage we've seen in recent days of the online activism happening on Nestlé's Facebook page is proof that the voices of consumers can be powerful. And we know that if enough of us tell Nestlé that we're not going to put up with any monkeying around, they will do the right thing. But we need you to keep telling them. And we need you to tell your friends to tell them.

Nestlé continues to use palm oil from major forest destroyers like SinarMas, despite their announcement. Ask them to remove rainforest destruction palm oil from their supply chains completely by engaging with the palm oil industry and Indonesian government to call for peatland protection, and an immediate end to deforestation. Tell Nestlé to give orang-utans and rainforests a real break.

Take action

Watch the Kit Kat spoof video and ask Nestlé to stop using palm oil from destroyed forests!

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