Target: Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
Goal: Save the last remaining habitat of orangutans and other rainforest wildlife from being converted to palm oil plantations
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world and can be found in half of all packaged foods. Unfortunately, palm oil production is now one of the worlds leading causes of rainforest destruction. The last remaining homes of wild orangutans are being destroyed to make room for new palm oil plantations, leading the Rainforest Action Network to call the fight for sustainable palm oil “the last stand for the orangutan.” The palm oil industry is also notorious for human right violations, including stealing land from indigenous communities and using forced labor.
While some companies are beginning to buy sustainable ethically sourced palm oil, PepsiCo, which uses 457,200 metric tons of palm oil a year, has yet to take any significant action. Demand that PepsiCo stop supporting mass environmental destruction and human rights violations and start using ethically sourced palm oil.
85% of palm oil is grown in Indonesia and Malaysia, where millions of acres of rainforest have been destroyed to make room for palm oil plantations. These rainforests are the last remaining home of wild orangutans, who have already lost 80% of their habitat. The endangered pygmy elephant, Sumatran elephant, Sumatran tiger, and other species are also finding their remaining habitat destroyed for palm cultivation. Less than 1,500 pygmy elephant remain in the wild and the Sumatran tiger has less than 500.
Not only the animals, but the people of Southeast Asia are also being harmed by this industry. Tens of millions of Indonesians rely on the forest for their livelihood, but indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities are increasingly being kicked off their land to make room for palm oil plantations. The palm oil industry is also notorious for forced and child labor. Malaysia alone has an estimated 72,000 to 200,000 children working on palm oil plantations.
Demand that PepsiCo take serious steps to ensure it is using only sustainable and ethically sourced palm oil.
Dear Indra Nooyi,
I am very concerned about the impact of products containing palm oil. The palm oil industry is causing massive rainforest destruction, uses forced and child labor, and threatens to make orangutans extinct. Since PepsiCo is a major user of palm oil, I would like to urge you to take strong steps to ensure that you only use sustainable and ethically sourced palm oil in your products.
Unfortunately it has come to my attention that you are lagging behind other large companies in taking serious steps to use sustainable and ethically sourced palm oil. I know that you work with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, but their standards are too weak to be effective and serve as little more than a greenwashing campaign. To regain consumer trust, you need to adopt a new procurement policy and implementation plan that ensures that the palm oil in your supply chain is fully traceable, legally grown, and sourced from verified responsible palm oil producers not associated deforestation or human rights abuses. While I enjoy you products, I will be forced to stop buying them unless you take serious action now to address these problems.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons