Household brands fail to act on dirty palm oil as 1 football pitch of rainforest is lost every 25 seconds

Publication date: 19th March 2018

A network of access roads on former orangutan habitat inside the PT Karya Makmur Abadi Estate II palm oil concession in East Kotawaringin district, Central Kalimantan. The concession is controlled by the Malaysian Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) group.

Eight major household brands including PZ Cussons (makers of Carex soap), Johnson & Johnson (baby lotion) and Kellogg’s (Pop Tarts) have refused to take steps towards eliminating palm oil from Indonesian forest destruction from their supply chains, a new Greenpeace report reveals.

The news follows recent reports that over 100,000 orangutans have been lost in Indonesia in the last 16 years [1].

As members of the powerful Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) [2], these brands promised in 2010 to help protect forests and limit climate change by cleaning up global commodity supply chains by 2020 [3]. Yet with less than two years to go before the deadline, Greenpeace found some leading consumer brands unwilling to disclose even basic information needed to turn that pledge into reality.

At the start of 2018, Greenpeace International challenged 16 leading members of the CGF to demonstrate progress towards a clean palm oil supply chain by disclosing the mills that produced their palm oil, and the names of the producer groups that controlled those mills. This would show whether brands had companies involved in forest destruction in their supply chains  – a vital first real step towards eliminating it.

Full details are published today in a new Greenpeace International report – Moment of Truth [4].

The report reveals that, under pressure from Greenpeace and other NGOs, eight brands made steps towards transparency – General Mills, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and ColgatePalmolive. The other half has so far failed. They include Ferrero, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, PZ Cussons and Smucker’s.

Kiki Taufik, Global Head of Indonesian forests at Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said:

“Brands have repeatedly promised to end deforestation for palm oil by 2020. With less than two years to go they are way off track. Some, such as Nestlé and Unilever, have at least come clean about that. Others, including PZ Cussons, Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Heinz, are still keeping customers in the dark.”

Transparency means it’s easier to see and hold to account traders that supply brands with palm oil sourced from rainforest destruction.

Greenpeace has today also launched a campaign against Carex, demanding it comes clean about palm oil.

Daniela Montalto, Greenpeace UK Forests Campaigner said:

It shouldn’t be up to NGOs to force the industry to keep their promises but progress is woefully slow. By hiding where their palm oil comes from, brands like Carex are making their customers unwittingly complicit in rainforest destruction. If Carex wants to save its reputation and stick by its slogan as a brand that ‘cleans, cares and protects’, it has to come clean about palm oil. Following through on its commitments to protect people, wildlife and the planet is the only way.”

Deforestation to produce commodities including palm oil shows no sign of slowing down. Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) figures state that around 24 million hectares of Indonesia’s rainforest was destroyed between 1990 and 2015 [5] – an area almost the size of the UK. The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry indicates 2.7 million hectares of deforestation between 2012 and 2015 [6] – that’s 1 football pitch every 25 seconds.

Decades of deforestation for plantations have created the ideal conditions for the raging forest and peatland fires – often deliberately set by companies clearing the land – and exploitation of workers remains endemic in the sector. In 2015, devastating forest fires spread a toxic haze across Southeast Asia, resulting in an estimated 100,000 premature deaths [7] and conservationists now speculate about when, not if, orangutans and other iconic species will become extinct [8].

Images available for download here: http://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJXUJUJU

For more information, contact Alison Kirkman on 07896 893154 or email press.uk@greenpeace.org

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

[1] ‘100,000 orangutans’ killed in 16 years: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42994630

[2] Consumer Goods Forum: https://www.theconsumergoodsforum.com/

[3] Zero deforestation and climate commitments: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/sep/29/companies-zero-deforestation-pledges-agriculture-palm-oil-environment

[4] Greenpeace International Moment of Truth report is available at: https://www.greenpeace.org/international/publication/15395/moment-of-truth/

[5]  Figures cover natural forest loss, taken from:

1990-2012: FREL Annex 5.1, p93, gross deforestation 21,339,301ha  http://redd.unfccc.int/submissions.html?country=idn

[6] 2012-2013: MoEF (2014) Deforestasi Indonesia Tahun 2012-2013, Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1, gross deforestation 953,977ha
2013-2014: MoEF (2015) Deforestasi Indonesia Tahun 2013-2014, Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1, gross deforestation 567,997ha
2014-2015: MoEF (2016) Deforestasi Indonesia Tahun 2014-2015,  Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1, gross deforestation 1,223,553ha http://appgis.dephut.go.id/appgis/download.aspx

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/19/haze-indonesia-forest-fires-killed-100000-people-harvard-study

[8] http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/orangutans-extinction-population-borneo-reasons-palm-oil-hunting-deforestation-rainforest-a7199366.html

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