Earlier this week, thousands of people across the globe participated in over one hundred coordinated demonstrations calling upon PepsiCo and other multinational food and beverage manufacturers to eliminate the use of “conflict palm oil”.
Conflict palm oil, is a term used to describe palm oil that has been sourced from industrial palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia that have taken over millions of acres of formerly lush rainforest – the natural habitat of the orangutan.
Demonstrators gathered on university campuses, public squares and outside multiple PepsiCo factories to send a common message; “PepsiCo, the Power is #InYourPalm to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil.”
Gemma Tillack forest campaigner at environmental activist group, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said that the level of enthusiasm to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil by people all across the world has increased dramatically.
“From the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia to cities across Australia, the U.S. and the UK, to the beaches of San Francisco and Brazil, students, families and ordinary people have organized themselves in droves today to send a clear and united message to PepsiCo and its peers: the time to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products is now,” said Tillack.
PepsiCo is one of the “Snack Food 20” group of companies targeted by RAN in their Conflict Palm Oil campaign. According to the group, PepsiCo consumes over 450,000 metric tonnes of palm oil annually for its snack food brands in the US, Mexico, Latin America, Asia and Europe.
Several of the major Snack Food 20 companies, including Mars, Kellogg, General Mills, Unilever and Nestle have recently responded to the heightened consumer awareness of palm oil production by announcing new commitments and strengthening their palm oil purchasing policies/ sourcing practices.
According to RAN, PepsiCo, still has no truly responsible palm oil purchasing policy.
PepsiCo recently issued a strengthened palm oil commitment on May 17th, however RAN together with Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists and SumOfUs.org say that PepsiCo’s new commitment does not go far enough.
“While it is encouraging that PepsiCo has acknowledged it has a problem with Conflict Palm Oil, the company’s recent commitments fall short in several key areas,” said Tillack.
“For PepsiCo to meet consumer expectations, it must adopt a binding, time bound policy with an action plan to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products that includes full traceability of palm oil back to its source and verifiable safeguards for human rights, forests and peatlands.”