Do you read the ingredients of everything your child eats? I try to. As a mom, grocery shopping is no simple task. I'm constantly reading labels, on the hunt for nasty additives that could harm my one year old's health. Is the can my coconut milk is packaged in BPA-free? Refined sugar in his granola bars? Pesticides on his blueberries? The list goes on. Since palm oil has become one of those nasty additives in everything, often disguised by complex ingredient names, I've been on a mission to educate other parents about Conflict Palm Oil: what it's in, why it's so bad for our planet and our health, and how we can use our powerful voice as parents to get it out of our children's food.
Since launching a hard-hitting campaign on 20 of the largest snack food companies in America (dubbed "the Snack Food 20") a year ago, RAN and our partners have inspired some pretty monumental shifts in the palm oil sector. Half of the Snack Food 20 companies have now adopted new commitments to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil and RAN is working hard to turn those commitments into real change on the ground in Indonesia and Malaysia. But a small handful of companies still lags behind, including PepsiCo, which has adopted a new commitment but failed to include the key safeguards needed to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil for good.
PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world and while it has begun to take steps, it has yet to adequately address its Conflict Palm Oil problem. Which is why this morning a group of moms and kids gathered at Bruce Park playground in Greenwich, CT - the hometown of PepsiCo CEO Ms. Indra Nooyi - for a colorful stroller brigade. The three mothers held a Conflict Palm Oil teach-in and marched together holding colorful visuals to send a powerful message to Ms. Nooyi. After the event the moms delivered more than 355,000 petitions from supporters in 122 countries to PepsiCo’s current global headquarters in White Plains, NY. Check out the photos, and send an email to PepsiCo in support.
This event was led by three local mothers named Harriet, Susan and Debra. They have been active members of RAN's global Palm Oil Action Team (POAT) since the launch of our Last Stand of the Orangutan campaign last Fall. Just last week they sent a powerful open letter to Ms. Nooyi via a dozen influential mommy bloggers requesting immediate action from Ms. Nooyi prior to the historic People's Climate March in NYC September 21.
The stroller brigade and open letter are evidence of the growing number of mothers who've decided that enough is enough: if we're going to stop climate change, we must take matters into our own hands. As the moms state in their open letter to Ms. Nooyi:
“We are three mothers who live in your community. We are witnesses, first hand and in our own communities, to the impacts of climate change. Our thoughts, concerns, fears and hopes - are for our children, for their future and their now. We are reaching out to you in regards to the historic leadership opportunity you face right now on the issue of climate change and palm oil. We are writing as fellow mothers, daughters, and working women. We are representatives of and speak for thousands of mothers around the country - neighbors, friends, relatives, as well as Rainforest Action Network members, who share our concerns that climate change is a direct threat to our children’s future.”
Their open letter, and the massive support behind it, highlights the growing movement around the globe calling on PepsiCo to address its Conflict Palm Oil problem and the role it plays in climate change. Add your voice and demand change from PepsiCo here.
We'll continue to push by joining an even larger contingent of mothers and fathers in NYC on September 21 as we march for our children's future in the historic People's Climate March. Join us! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Thank you to Susan Rutman for all the photos in this piece.