Jakarta, Indonesia Palm oil suppliers to snack food giant Mondelez have destroyed almost 25,000 hectares of orangutan habitat in Indonesia in just two years, new mapping analysis by Greenpeace International has revealed.[1]

Mondelez is one of the world’s largest buyers of palm oil, which it uses in many of its best-known products, including Cadbury chocolate bars, Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers.[2] A Greenpeace International investigation discovered that between 2015 and 2017,[3] 22 of its palm oil suppliers cleared over 70,000 hectares of rainforest – an area bigger than the city of Chicago.[4]

Palm oil suppliers to Mondelez have also been accused of child labour, exploitation of workers, illegal deforestation, forest fires and land grabbing. Mondelez gets much of this dirty palm oil from Wilmar International – the biggest and dirtiest palm oil trader in the world.

“It’s outrageous that despite promising to clean up its palm oil almost ten years ago, Mondelez is still trading with forest destroyers. Palm oil can be made without destroying forests, yet our investigation discovered that Mondelez suppliers are still trashing forests and wrecking orangutan habitat, pushing these beautiful and intelligent creatures to the brink of extinction. They’re literally dying for a cookie,” said Kiki Taufik, the global head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Indonesia forests campaign.

Scientists have warned that deforestation for palm oil poses a serious threat to orangutans and other endangered species. Last year, a comprehensive meta-study concluded that the Bornean orangutans numbers had halved over the past 16 years. Recent studies also show that both the Sumatran and newly discovered Tapanuli orangutan lost more than half their habitat between 1985 and 2007. All three species are classified as Critically Endangered, along with the Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Rhino.

“Mondelez CEO, Dirk Van de Put, promised to offer consumers ‘snacking made right’. But there is nothing right about palm oil that is produced by killing orangutans and fuelling climate change,” said Taufik. “This must be a wake up call to Mondelez and other household brands to take action and cut Wilmar off until it can prove its palm oil is clean. Ultimately, if big brands can’t find enough clean palm oil to make their products then they need to start using less.”

Tropical deforestation produces more greenhouse gas emissions each year than the entire European Union; outranking every country except the USA and China. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for an immediate end to deforestation to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C.

Last week, the UN’s Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Cristiana Pașca Palmer, warned that biodiversity loss was ‘a silent killer’ and as serious a threat as climate change.

Mondelez must prove the palm oil it uses  comes from growers that are not destroying rainforests or exploiting people.


Photos available here

Map available here


[1] Dying for a cookie: how Mondelēz is feeding the climate and extinction crisis

[2] In 2017, Mondelez used 306,554 tonnes of palm oil and derivatives, and in 2016, Mondelez used 312,266  tonnes of palm oil. Based on analysis of ingredients lists. Manufacturing variations mean that palm, canola, or soybean oil may be being used in different regions or factories.

[3] Greenpeace International analysed deforestation by 25 palm oil producer groups and cross-referenced these groups with supply chain information published by Mondelez and other brands.

Due to the nature of the palm oil trade (and action by the company), some of these producers may not currently be supplying Mondelez with palm oil, although they were all suppliers between 2015 and 2017, when the forest destruction took place.

Mondelez first pledged to clean up its supply chains in 2010, and published a ‘no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation’ policy in 2014.

[4] Between 2015 and 2017, the 22 palm oil suppliers destroyed 70,770 ha. of rainforest in Indonesia, and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. Mondelez is based in Deerfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The city of Chicago is 60,600 ha.


Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), [email protected]

Sol Gosetti, International Communications Coordinator, Indonesia Forest campaign, Greenpeace Southeast Asia [email protected], +44 (0) 7380845754