Kit Kat: give the orang-utan a break

Posted by jamie — 17 March 2010 at 8:48am - Comments

Email Nestlé's CEO Paul Bulcke to demand they stop using palm oil from trashed rainforests

We all like a break, but the orang-utans of Indonesia don't seem to be able to get one. We have new evidence which shows that Nestlé - the makers of Kit Kat - are using palm oil produced in areas where the orang-utans' rainforests once grew. Even worse, the company doesn't seem to care.

So the Greenpeace orang-utans have been despatched to Nestlé head offices in Croydon to let employees know the environmental crimes their company is implicated in, and begin an international campaign to have Nestlé give us all a break.

As we've noted many times before, Indonesian forests are being torn down to grow palm oil which is the vegetable fat of choice for companies worldwide, including Nestlé. But while many companies such as Unilever and Kraft are making efforts to disassociate themselves from the worst practices of the palm oil industry, Nestlé has done diddly squat.

By lining the route from East Croydon train station to their office with posters, leaflets and billboard adverts - not to mention orang-utans hanging off the side of the building -  we hope to start raising questions within the building about the kind of companies Nestlé is doing business with. And we're asking them to have a break at 11am this morning to find out what else we have planned. Join us back here at 11am for a quick break too.

The palm oil Nestlé uses in products like Kit Kat is sourced from what used to be rainforest in Indonesia, forest which is being destroyed faster than anywhere else on the planet. One of Nestlé's suppliers, the giant Sinar Mas group, is responsible for a large part of this arboreal carnage and has a track record of appalling environmental and social practices, not only on its palm oil plantations but also, through its subsidiary APP, its pulp and paper ones. Just take a look at these photos for a small glimpse of what Sinar Mas companies are up to.

The evidence collected in our report, Caught Red Handed, shows how Sinar Mas is not only clearing forests but destroying carbon-rich peatlands. Burning and draining these peatlands releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, helping to make Indonesia the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

Meanwhile, the palm oil industry often comes into conflict with local communities over land rights and resources, and the already endangered orang-utans are being pushed closer to extinction. With the forests destroyed, they're left without their natural sources of food and so are forced to venture into the plantations to eat young palms, where they can be seen as pests.

If you've been following Greenpeace for a while, you'll know we've been working to halt the devastation in Indonesia for some time, and two years ago our orang-utans were out in force outside Unilever's offices. As a result of our work, Unilever has recently dropped Sinar Mas as a supplier and other companies like Kraft have done the same.

Yet despite Nestle's claims that it expects its own suppliers to uphold high green standards (as detailed in their Supplier's Code), the Kit Kat makers still continue to do business with Sinar Mas. With other companies not willing to be tarnished by the devastation Sinar Mas is creating, this leaves Nestlé - like the orang-utans - out on a limb.

The recent Fairtrade certification for some of its Kit Kat range shows Nestlé is keen to point to its ethical credentials, but the benefit brought by the Fairtrade ingredients is undermined by the palm oil loaded with wilful deforestation.

It's time Nestlé took a break from turning a blind eye to what its suppliers are up to.

I've had enough of big corporate companies deliberately ignoring what their suppliers are doing. Nestle are trying to fool us by saying KitKats are fair trade, but try telling that to the poor orang utans.

This campaign has been added to the Nestle Critics website, which serves as a portal for all aspects of Nestle's questionable business dealings. Let's hope many people send messages to Nestle.

http://www.nestlecritics.org/

Nestle's behaviour on palm oil is a reflection of its true management principles (not those that appear in its glossy PR materials) - and why public pressure is needed to force change.

Nestle management put profits before all else and have promised shareholders 5-6% annual growth in turnover. They only make changes when campaigners make enough noise to shame it publicly. So well done to Greenpeace for this campaign.

Baby Milk Action is alerting our supporters.

I can't believe that rainforests are STILL being destroyed, in spite of all the warnings, and pleas from thousands of good-natured and logical people worldwide. You'd think that once so many people realized how wrong the whole thing is, it would be that easy to just STOP. I don't care what the excuses are, such as we need all these resources and material ETC, I don't care about the excuses, deforestation should just be STOPPED RIGHT NOW!
Those responsible for the destruction of the rainforest must be either COMPLETELY malevolent, or COMPLETELY stupid. I think that they are both. There is NO sense whatsoever in their actions.
I feel heartbroken for the forest and all of its beautiful forms of life; animals, plants, native cultures...
I feel extremely worried for the future of both the planet and its people.
The most distressing thing of all is that those in power, such as governments and big buisnesses, WILL NOT LISTEN.
All they care about is money. They are so brainwashed by money and advancing technology, that they have all but completely forgotten the ground that they walk on is a LIVING PLANET, and that life does not just mean human beings and the pathetic needs that we have created for ourselves.
There is so much more to life, we have no right to embellish our own with the death of animals, trees, oceans, EVERYTHING.
It bewilders and enrages me...how could so many people be so wicked and so stupid? How can they choose the death of earth, for the continuation of greed and material wealth??
Our planet is such a beautiful one, and I yearn to protect it.
In truth, I feel powerless to protect it.
How can I and so many others protect the rainforest, when all it takes is an obesely rich and selfish buisnessman ploughing along with his killing machines and chequebook to mutilate and destroy it?
I mean for gods sake - THE RAINFOREST IS BEING DESTROYED [along with all of the native wildlife and people who depend on it] SO THAT WE CAN STUFF OUR FACES FOR A FLEETING MOMENT OF CHOCOLATE PLEASURE!
This is INSANITY!

On a more spiritual note, this beautiful planet is maternal to us, and benevolent enough to provide us with what we need to survive, and to live in happiness. We are naturally given light, and shade, nourishment and shelter. Not only that, but we are blessed with the most sensuous and magical of worlds...look at all the magnificent colours, textures, sounds, sights, aromas, tastes and exciting diversity of places and peoples that Earth gives to us and shelters.
And yet we have allowed our so-called 'civilization' to abuse the generosity of this planet.
I feel that there is no longer a balance between mankind and nature. Mankind - excluding those of us who still care and endeavor to make a positive difference - has come to take, take, take without respect for the source.
We are BEING GIVEN life, and so we should honour that source of such a gift.
Life is a gift, this earth is a gift, as mankind has forgotten.
I strongly believe that salvation - for the spirit of all that is real life, and not the wallets or egos of those in power - can be found by returning to nature.

To cut a long rant short, DEFORESTATION MUST BE STOPPED NOW, along with several other crimes against the natural world. How people like me, or you, can gain enough positive power to make a hugely positive change, is the question.

rainbowsky

We can ALL make a difference... we can all make changes and we have more power that we think..... Just decide where you put ANY of your money or investments....

Big rewards investments mean devastation to planet usually!

What we each buy and spend is contributing to the future we deserve..... and we will get.

This is awful, after seeing the panorama documentary on bbc it really opened my eyes to the horrible palm oil industry.

Nestle should face up to their responsibilities, when will they learn?

I Don`t understand why they cut down rainforests to make plam oil when there are suppilers out there that make plam oil synthetically without the need to kill wildlife and create greenhouse gasses, taking into account there history an all, They are truly an evil company.

Oooh! I just knew something would be wrong with the Fairtrade branding. I hoped it would just be 'well kitkats are still made by a horrible company so I wouldn't eat them anyway'. Trust Nestlé to have something like this in the supply chain of one of their 'ethical' products.

Well done for raising awareness about this – it always bugs me how hard it is to advertise what big companies are doing because they have the funds to put up such a fight about it. I really hope the campaign is successful.

On a lighter note, I love the idea of orang-utans hanging off the side of buildings. That's awesome!

Izabel, you are right , I am so glad to hear you echo my thoughts so eloquently. I believe that you have said what many people struggle to say, in a very powerful way. Bless you. You have moved me and strengthened me. We must keep doing what is right and true. Thankyou, and telling it how it is!

I received the standard response from Nestlé to my phone call, so I wrote to them again saying "I request that you update me on the situation at the end of April, as to whether Sinar Mas has taken the action necessary to become sustainable, or has been delisted. In the intervening time, given how important this is, is there any possibility of Nestlé suspending purchase of palm oil from them?

"Nestlé has demonstrated its commitment to ethical behaviour by using Fairtrade chocolate for KitKats; it should demonstrate its commitment further by committing itself to using only sustainably produced palm oil." I deliberately included this sentence in the hope that they would respond positively.

I received the following noncommittal reply:

"Thank you very much for your email. Nestlé recently undertook a detailed review of its supply chain to establish the source of its palm oil supplies and we have made a commitment to using only "Certified Sustainable Palm Oil" by 2015, when sufficient quantities should be available. This is our best estimate based on availability. It is in line with generally recognised market expectations. As an important step on that journey, a number of Nestlé markets, including Nestlé UK, have already purchased Green Palm certificates, the certificate trading programme designed to help suppliers tackle the environmental and social problems created by the production of palm oil. Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact us. We are grateful for the interest you have shown in our company."

I wholeheartedly agree with Izabels comment...

As to the responce that was send to rebecca x - they write: "we have made a commitment to using only "Certified Sustainable Palm Oil" by 2015, when sufficient quantities should be available."

Which basically means that they might use palm oil from trashed rainforests, if other quantities are not available... Its really sad, isn´t it?

Greetings from Steve
[deleted link spam. gpuk]

Yeah! It will be good if Nestle will take break.
[deleted link spam. gpuk]

I've had enough of big corporate companies deliberately ignoring what their suppliers are doing. Nestle are trying to fool us by saying KitKats are fair trade, but try telling that to the poor orang utans.

This campaign has been added to the Nestle Critics website, which serves as a portal for all aspects of Nestle's questionable business dealings. Let's hope many people send messages to Nestle. http://www.nestlecritics.org/ Nestle's behaviour on palm oil is a reflection of its true management principles (not those that appear in its glossy PR materials) - and why public pressure is needed to force change. Nestle management put profits before all else and have promised shareholders 5-6% annual growth in turnover. They only make changes when campaigners make enough noise to shame it publicly. So well done to Greenpeace for this campaign. Baby Milk Action is alerting our supporters.

I can't believe that rainforests are STILL being destroyed, in spite of all the warnings, and pleas from thousands of good-natured and logical people worldwide. You'd think that once so many people realized how wrong the whole thing is, it would be that easy to just STOP. I don't care what the excuses are, such as we need all these resources and material ETC, I don't care about the excuses, deforestation should just be STOPPED RIGHT NOW! Those responsible for the destruction of the rainforest must be either COMPLETELY malevolent, or COMPLETELY stupid. I think that they are both. There is NO sense whatsoever in their actions. I feel heartbroken for the forest and all of its beautiful forms of life; animals, plants, native cultures... I feel extremely worried for the future of both the planet and its people. The most distressing thing of all is that those in power, such as governments and big buisnesses, WILL NOT LISTEN. All they care about is money. They are so brainwashed by money and advancing technology, that they have all but completely forgotten the ground that they walk on is a LIVING PLANET, and that life does not just mean human beings and the pathetic needs that we have created for ourselves. There is so much more to life, we have no right to embellish our own with the death of animals, trees, oceans, EVERYTHING. It bewilders and enrages me...how could so many people be so wicked and so stupid? How can they choose the death of earth, for the continuation of greed and material wealth?? Our planet is such a beautiful one, and I yearn to protect it. In truth, I feel powerless to protect it. How can I and so many others protect the rainforest, when all it takes is an obesely rich and selfish buisnessman ploughing along with his killing machines and chequebook to mutilate and destroy it? I mean for gods sake - THE RAINFOREST IS BEING DESTROYED [along with all of the native wildlife and people who depend on it] SO THAT WE CAN STUFF OUR FACES FOR A FLEETING MOMENT OF CHOCOLATE PLEASURE! This is INSANITY! On a more spiritual note, this beautiful planet is maternal to us, and benevolent enough to provide us with what we need to survive, and to live in happiness. We are naturally given light, and shade, nourishment and shelter. Not only that, but we are blessed with the most sensuous and magical of worlds...look at all the magnificent colours, textures, sounds, sights, aromas, tastes and exciting diversity of places and peoples that Earth gives to us and shelters. And yet we have allowed our so-called 'civilization' to abuse the generosity of this planet. I feel that there is no longer a balance between mankind and nature. Mankind - excluding those of us who still care and endeavor to make a positive difference - has come to take, take, take without respect for the source. We are BEING GIVEN life, and so we should honour that source of such a gift. Life is a gift, this earth is a gift, as mankind has forgotten. I strongly believe that salvation - for the spirit of all that is real life, and not the wallets or egos of those in power - can be found by returning to nature. To cut a long rant short, DEFORESTATION MUST BE STOPPED NOW, along with several other crimes against the natural world. How people like me, or you, can gain enough positive power to make a hugely positive change, is the question.

rainbowsky We can ALL make a difference... we can all make changes and we have more power that we think..... Just decide where you put ANY of your money or investments.... Big rewards investments mean devastation to planet usually! What we each buy and spend is contributing to the future we deserve..... and we will get.

This is awful, after seeing the panorama documentary on bbc it really opened my eyes to the horrible palm oil industry. Nestle should face up to their responsibilities, when will they learn?

I Don`t understand why they cut down rainforests to make plam oil when there are suppilers out there that make plam oil synthetically without the need to kill wildlife and create greenhouse gasses, taking into account there history an all, They are truly an evil company.

Oooh! I just knew something would be wrong with the Fairtrade branding. I hoped it would just be 'well kitkats are still made by a horrible company so I wouldn't eat them anyway'. Trust Nestlé to have something like this in the supply chain of one of their 'ethical' products. Well done for raising awareness about this – it always bugs me how hard it is to advertise what big companies are doing because they have the funds to put up such a fight about it. I really hope the campaign is successful. On a lighter note, I love the idea of orang-utans hanging off the side of buildings. That's awesome!

Izabel, you are right , I am so glad to hear you echo my thoughts so eloquently. I believe that you have said what many people struggle to say, in a very powerful way. Bless you. You have moved me and strengthened me. We must keep doing what is right and true. Thankyou, and telling it how it is!

I received the standard response from Nestlé to my phone call, so I wrote to them again saying "I request that you update me on the situation at the end of April, as to whether Sinar Mas has taken the action necessary to become sustainable, or has been delisted. In the intervening time, given how important this is, is there any possibility of Nestlé suspending purchase of palm oil from them? "Nestlé has demonstrated its commitment to ethical behaviour by using Fairtrade chocolate for KitKats; it should demonstrate its commitment further by committing itself to using only sustainably produced palm oil." I deliberately included this sentence in the hope that they would respond positively. I received the following noncommittal reply: "Thank you very much for your email. Nestlé recently undertook a detailed review of its supply chain to establish the source of its palm oil supplies and we have made a commitment to using only "Certified Sustainable Palm Oil" by 2015, when sufficient quantities should be available. This is our best estimate based on availability. It is in line with generally recognised market expectations. As an important step on that journey, a number of Nestlé markets, including Nestlé UK, have already purchased Green Palm certificates, the certificate trading programme designed to help suppliers tackle the environmental and social problems created by the production of palm oil. Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact us. We are grateful for the interest you have shown in our company."

isn't this campaign against Kit Kat?

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