Unilever takes the lead to stop deforestation in Indonesia

Posted by tracy — 14 May 2008 at 1:28pm - Comments

orangutans are threatened by forest destruction in indonesia

You may have noticed that we had quick win in our campaign to stop deforestation from palm oil a couple of weeks back. Unilever made an announcement that they would support a moratorium to protect Indonesia's rainforest from destruction just ten days after the launch of our campaign.

During our research into palm oil and forest destruction in Indonesia we discovered that Unilever is one of the biggest buyers of palm oil, and it is used in several of their products like Dove soap, Persil and Flora. So we started targeting Dove with a cheeky campaign subverting their campaign for real beauty with Orang-utans on billboards, on flyers, online banners and on the Unilever's headquarters in London and their factory in Liverpool.

Meanwhile, we received well over a thousand photos of people sending their messages to Dove from our local groups and individuals - check out our map to see some of them.

The agreement with Unilever is now starting to take shape, but this is just the first step in our campaign to get a moratorium on forest destruction in South East Asia in place within what we hope will be months.

Unilever is supporting our call for a moratorium on the ground but even through they are the biggest buyer they represent only 3 per cent of the palm oil purchasers and the moratorium will need a lot more support from other companies before we see real change on the ground in Indonesia.

Unilever have agreed to take up the challenge by leading the way and building a coalition of allies to support a moratorium and put pressure on their suppliers in Indonesia to agree to a moratorium on further destruction of rainforests for palm oil. This includes them lobbying all the major players in the industry like Kraft, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Cadburys. They also agreed to put substantial pressure on their suppliers in Indonesia to stop destroying rainforests.

This is a really big first step and we're pretty chuffed, and while it won't be as glamorous as the campaign for real rainforests, we now have a lot of work ahead to make sure that Unilever holds up their end of the agreement and together we get more companies on side and get a moratorium in place.

Over the coming months we will be meeting with companies and lobbying them to support the moratorium alongside Unilever. This coalition of influential players in the palm oil industry is key to getting a moratorium in place as soon as possible to stop deforestation and the release of greenhouse gases that fuel climate change.

And there is no time to celebrate (ok, we did just a little) - next week campaigners will be speaking at the World Palm Oil Summit in Jakarta to talk about the need for a moratorium with buyers and suppliers. And we will also be speaking at an investment seminar on palm oil in London in June with F&C Asset Management and McDonalds.

We will do our best to keep you posted, but because of the nature of many of these meetings we will have to keep a pretty closed lip. We will also let you know if we need your help again in the future to put pressure on any companies that may need a bit of an incentive to support the moratorium. In the meantime please join Greenpeace to help support our ongoing work.

Thank you for all your help and support so far, it has been an incredible response for the first step in this campaign to save Indonesia's rainforests.

Unilever has told Indonesian suppliers to stop sourcing palm oil from Duta Palma due to concerns over deforestation, reports Reuters.

Unilever's warning comes shortly after a BBC documentary linked palm oil used in the company's products to rainforest destruction by Duta Palma.

Derom Bangun, vice-chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Board, an industry body, told Reuters Unilever's decision was a direct result of the documentary.

Unilever has told Indonesian suppliers to stop sourcing palm oil from Duta Palma due to concerns over deforestation, reports Reuters. Unilever's warning comes shortly after a BBC documentary linked palm oil used in the company's products to rainforest destruction by Duta Palma. Derom Bangun, vice-chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Board, an industry body, told Reuters Unilever's decision was a direct result of the documentary.

About Tracy

I work for Greenpeace in the UK office. Most people in the office might describe what I do as "something to do with computers". That might be followed up with "and she is not a morning person". Clearly I think it is far more interesting than that. I have been helping Greenpeace organise and deliver online campaigns for more than 10 years (I’m going to stop counting) in Canada, Brazil, India and from our international headquarters. And then I realised my carbon foot print was out of control and have settled in the UK bought a boat and a solar panel and am now trying to make amends.

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