Greenpeace protests use of ‘dirty’ palm oil in Oreos

  (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe / Greenpeace )

Greenpeace is calling on Oreo manufacturer Mondelz International to drop ties with palm oil producers that they claim are destroying rainforests.

In protest, 30 Greenpeace UK volunteers recreated a life-size burnt rainforest – complete with animatronic orangutan – at the main entrance of Mondelēz’s UK headquarters near Uxbridge. Five people also scaled the building to hang a banner that read ‘Oreo, drop dirty palm oil’.

Volunteers were handing out information to staff about the impact of Oreo’s links to palm oil producers that they claimed destroy the rainforest, noting a loss of 70,000 hectares as a result of Mondelēz’s palm oil suppliers.

“Oreo promised to stop buying palm oil from forest destroyers years ago, but nothing has changed and now, orangutans are literally dying for a biscuit. We’ve seen just how many people care about deforestation for palm oil this week and we’ve brought messages from hundreds of Oreo’s customers here today,” said Greenpeace UK campaigner Fiona Nicholls.

“Palm oil can be grown without destroying rainforests.”

In response, Mondelēz International said it was committed to eradicating deforestation in the palm oil supply chain and was actively working with its suppliers to ensure the palm oil used was fully traceable.

It also noted that it had excluded 12 companies from its supply chain as a result of breaches.

“We have actionable steps in place to make certain that the palm oil we buy is produced on legally held land, does not lead to deforestation or loss of peat land, respects human rights, and does not use forced or child labour,” a spokesperson said.

The business, which also manufacturers Cadbury chocolate and Ritz crackers, said it would continue to prioritise suppliers that met its principles and exclude those that did not.

“We are calling on our suppliers to improve practices across their entire operations and to engage their third-party suppliers to ensure their palm oil production is 100% sustainable and traceable. At the end of 2017, 96% of our palm oil was traceable back to mill and 99% was from suppliers with policies aligned to ours,” the spokesperson added.

Mondelēz is also asking direct suppliers to work with others in their supply chain to map and monitor the plantations where oil is grown to drive further traceability.

The use of palm oil has come under particularly scrutiny in the last couple of weeks after Iceland’s Christmas advert – which highlighted rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production – was banned from TV.

Earlier this year, the frozen retailer pledged to end the use of palm oil in its own-label food by the end of 2018 – a theme that was evident in its festive range.

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