Palm oil: Oreo and Cadbury linked to destruction of orangutan habitat

70,000 hectares of Indonesian rainforest, including 25,000 hectares of orangutan habitat, destroyed in just two years


Palm oil suppliers to food giant Mondelez have destroyed 70,000 hectares of rainforest including 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 biggest buyers of palm oil [1a], 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, 22 of its palm oil suppliers cleared over 70,000 hectares of rainforest [3] – an area bigger than the City of Chicago, where Mondelez is based. [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.

Kiki Taufik, head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Indonesia forests campaign, said:

“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 biscuit.”

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.

Richard George, Greenpeace UK Forests Campaigner, said:

“Mondelez’s new tagline, revealed in September, is ‘snacking made right’, but there’s nothing right about palm oil produced by killing orangutans and fuelling climate change. This must be a wake up call to Mondelez and other household brands to take action, starting with cutting off the dirtiest palm oil trader of all, Wilmar, until it can prove its palm oil is clean. Ultimately, if big brands can’t find enough clean palm oil to make their products, they need use 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.


Photos available here

Map available here


[1] See PDF attachment. Dying for a cookie: how Mondelez is feeding the climate and extinction crisis

Report will be live at this link 13/11/18:

[1a] In 2017, Mondelez used 306,554 tonnes of palm oil and derivatives, and  in  2016, Mondelez used 312,266  tonnes of palm oil.

[2] 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.


Alison Kirkman, Greenpeace UK Press Office 020 7865 8255

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