Deerfield, Illinois—Today, activists with Rainforest Action Network (RAN), including one dressed as an orangutan met with company officials at the headquarters of local food giants Kraft and Mondelez after the group announced a national campaign yesterday to remove “Conflict Palm Oil” from America’s snack foods. A protest at Chicago’s Board of Trade yesterday morning publicly named the 20 snack food companies that RAN’s campaign will focus on. Today’s visits are the first two company stops on a recently launched national tour by RAN called The Power Is In Your Palm Tour.
In 2007, two kids in Michigan set out to earn their Girl Scout Bronze Award by raising awareness about the endangered orangutan. They learned that the orangutans’ habitat is being destroyed to plant oil palm plantations. After making the shocking discovery that palm oil was an ingredient in Girl Scout cookies, they launched a campaign to make Girl Scout cookies rainforest-safe.
Unveiled on the sidelines of a meeting of the Tropical Forest Alliance, a coalition of government leaders and companies from the Consumer Goods Forum, the innovation group (POIG) will determine production standards that will help the alliance meet the ambitious goal of eliminating deforestation from the production of soybeans, palm oil, beef and pulp and paper by 2020.
Forced labor, including debt bondage, also continues to sustain palm oil plantations in Malaysia, also on the Tier 2 Watch List, and Indonesia. (Palm oil is used in lots of processed foods, from Dunkin' Donuts to Girl Scout cookies.) Cargill, the largest importer of palm oil and trader of 25 percent of the world's palm oil supply, says it has a policy of not using any slave or child labor. But the Rainforest Action Network has alleged that one of Cargill's palm oil suppliers used slave labor on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.