Groups deliver petition with a quarter of a million signatures, call on the snack food giant to take meaningful action to halt deforestation and human rights abuses in its palm oil supply chain
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, +1.425.281.1989, Emma@ran.org
**High-res photos from the action available here: ran.org/pepsidelivery
San Francisco, CA - Today, an international coalition of civil society groups including Rainforest Action Network (RAN), SumOfUs, Wildlife Asia, and Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS)––the award-winning film team behind Racing Extinction and The Cove––together with local volunteers and supporters, delivered a petition of a quarter million signatures to snack food giant PepsiCo at its global headquarters in Purchase, New York. Members from the groups engaged with PepsiCo representatives, demanding that PepsiCo cut Conflict Palm Oil from its global supply chain.
The petition delivery came on the heels of two separate, independent reports in the past year that have linked PepsiCo to exploitation and labor abuses in its palm oil supply chain, along with a report issued by PepsiCo itself two weeks ago that confirmed its ties to Conflict Palm Oil. PepsiCo, the largest globally distributed snack food company, is a major purchaser of palm oil, using 470,045 metric tons of palm oil in 2014 alone.
Palm oil expansion in Indonesia is causing unprecedented deforestation, habitat loss, human rights and labor rights violations. The delivery at PepsiCo’s headquarters was staged as a theatrical protest to expose “the elephant in the room”––PepsiCo’s ties to Conflict Palm Oil––and featured a large artistic rendering of a Pepsi soda bottle with the names of the petition signers and an elephant inside, to draw attention to the fact that Conflict Palm Oil is threatening the survival of Sumatran elephants due to deforestation and habitat loss. The protest also drew attention to the fact that child labor is rampant in palm oil production, including the palm oil used in PepsiCo-branded snack foods.
“We’re here today at PepsiCo’s doorstep to demand better,” said Pearl Robinson, National Organizer for Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “PepsiCo is turning a blind eye as it sources its palm oil from companies who abuse workers on their palm oil plantations, cheating them out of fair pay and benefits, exposing them to toxic chemicals, and forcing them to bring their children and spouses to work. PepsiCo can and must do better,” Robinson said.
“After more than three years of publicly pressuring PepsiCo to clean up the serious environmental and human rights violations in its palm oil supply chains, people across the world are saying ‘enough is enough,’” said Fatah Sadaoui, senior campaignerwith SumOfUs. “Hundreds of thousands of SumOfUs members have taken action on this issue, and the message is clear: PepsiCo must cut Conflict Palm Oil now.”
“The threat is immediate,” said Shayne McGrath, Leuser Ecosystem Conservation Director with Wildlife Asia. “If PepsiCo refuses to take real action on Conflict Palm Oil, it may drive the loss of critical ecosystems like the Leuser Ecosystem––a globally important biodiversity hotspot and home to literally the last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers still live together in the wild. We can not afford to lose the Leuser.”
“We can’t let these critical species disappear for our snack foods,” said Dr. Heather Rally with Racing Extinction. “The Sumatran orangutan is at extreme risk and could become the first great ape to go extinct in the wild, if action is not taken to stop the destruction of its habitat for palm oil plantations. Is this the legacy that PepsiCo wants to leave behind?”
PepsiCo is the world’s largest globally distributed snack food company and the biggest remaining brand among the Snack Food 20 that has failed to put forward a comprehensive responsible palm oil policy. PepsiCo’s current palm oil policy has a ‘loophole the size of Indonesia’ in that it does not require compliance from its joint venture partner Indofood, which produces all Pepsi branded snack foods in Indonesia and has been linked to the exploitation of its workers.
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org
Big corporations have too much power. SumOfUs exists to do something about it. http://sumofus.org/
The Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), an independent non-profit organization, uses film, photography, collaboration, and social media – one “exposure” at a time – to educate, inspire, and empower the global community to become change agents that are actively engaged in saving and preserving the oceans, endangered species, and our planet. OPS's first film, The Cove, has won dozens of awards around the world, including the Oscar® for Best Documentary in 2009, and inspired over a million people to action. For more information, please visit www.opsociety.org.
Wildlife Asia’s mission is to protect Asia’s tropical forests and key landscapes which host the highest levels of biodiversity and iconic mega fauna habitat. A small, outcome focused NGO, Wildlife Asia has developed a proven history to undertake effective conservation, especially in areas emerging from conflict. Through providing support to leaders and civil society organisations as well as implementing effective direct action, Wildlife Asia addresses critical and urgent challenges in wildlife and habitat conservation. For more information visit www.wildlifeasia.org.au