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Conflict Palm Oil

In rainforests half a world away from the United States, orangutans are making their last stand for survival. Scientists warn that these gentle and intelligent animals, among humankind’s closest kin, could become extinct within our lifetime if their rainforest homes continue to be destroyed for palm oil plantations. But the primary threat pushing them toward extinction lies much closer to home than you may think: you’ll find it hidden in the snack food aisle of your local grocery store, and likely in your own shopping cart.

Read the full report here

When you eat food that comes out of a bag, a box, or a package of any kind, chances are you are eating palm oil. It is added to chocolate, turned into fry oil, and snuck into snacks of all sorts—in fact, it can now be found in roughly half the packaged food products sold in grocery stores. This palm oil comes at a terrible human and environmental cost. Skyrocketing demand has driven massive, industrial palm oil plantations into millions of acres of formerly lush rainforest habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia, worsening climate change and causing widespread human rights violations.

This report announces the launch of an ambitious new national campaign by Rainforest Action Network (RAN ) called “The Last Stand of the Orangutan.” This campaign exposes the dark secret of conflict palm oil in the U.S. snack food industry and calls on companies to adopt responsible palm oil policies and commit to only using traceable palm oil that is free of deforestation, expansion on carbon-rich peatlands and human rights violations.

RAN ’s carefully selected “Snack Food 20” group of companies are named here publicly for the first time. This report assesses the palm oil purchasing commitments and policies of each of these influential corporations and spells out the critical role they have in reforming the destructive practices widely associated with palm oil production.

The “Snack Food 20” group of companies—Campbell Soup Company; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc.; General Mills, Inc.; Grupo Bimbo; Hillshire Brands Company; H.J. Heinz Company; Hormel Foods Corporation; Kellogg Company; Kraft Food Group, Inc.; Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Corp.; Mars Inc.; Mondelez International, Inc.; Nestlé S.A.; Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd.; PepsiCo, Inc.; The Hershey Company; The J.M. Smucker Company; Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.; and Unilever—manufacture a wide range of popular snack foods in the United States and abroad that contain conflict palm oil.

While some companies are beginning to take steps to address their palm oil problem, none have yet adopted and fully implemented adequate safeguards to eliminate conflict palm oil from entering their supply chains and contaminating their products. These big, global food companies have the power, through their supply chains, to drive a transformation in the way palm oil is now commonly produced. Increased consumer and citizen pressure on these companies is a key ingredient for success.

Working together with our families, friends, and allies, we will hold these companies to account and push them to eliminate conflict palm oil from their products. We will work with them to adopt and implement responsible palm oil procurement policies that ensure the palm oil they buy is not associated with deforestation, child or forced labor, plantation expansion on carbon-rich peatlands, or violations of forest-dependent communities’ rights.

The fate of the orangutan, forest peoples, and some of the world’s most rich and important rainforests hang in the balance.


Showing 9 reactions

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  • Maicon Carls
    commented 2019-01-10 09:27:54 -0800
  • Maicon Carls
    commented 2019-01-10 09:27:30 -0800
  • Maicon Carls
    commented 2019-01-10 09:17:27 -0800
  • Nicole Abshear
    commented 2017-08-15 00:25:22 -0700
    I ave only found old articles about Trader Joe’s using non-sustainable palm oil. Have they made improvements and/or changes in recent years?
  • Maicon Carls
    commented 2017-02-15 10:28:35 -0800
    It is very important to take care of the forests, including I am studying about a preservation of the environment and to see that preserving a nature is to preserve life.
    Acessem sobre redação para o Enem:
  • Laurie Wells
    commented 2016-12-08 17:39:57 -0800
    And… These foods are not Good for us to consume either!

    Thank you for posting the company names

    Yet another reason to purchase whole
    Foods from local farmers and make our own simple foods

    Laurie Wells. MD
  • Dale Neff
    commented 2016-12-08 07:06:14 -0800
    Hi Guys,
    Not a whole lot I can do but give this article a shout out again thanks to for bring this to my attention. I will repost and try to give this world another chance to people that haven’t heard of this.
  • Linda Lawrance Starkey
    commented 2016-03-07 15:16:40 -0800
    I had no idea this was happening. The orangutans are native to Indonesia and Malaysia and are currently found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatria. For the love of money, supply and demand. These rainforests and Apes are disappearing. How very sad. How can I help as well.
  • Jeanne MacDonald
    commented 2015-10-21 07:48:52 -0700
    How can I help?