Oreo Cookie Maker Linked to Orangutan Habitat Destruction for Palm Oil


On Tuesday, Greenpeace International released a new report that accuses Mondelez International of obtaining palm oil from what they refer as ‘rainforest destroyers’.

Most of the company’s popular products have palm oil as their ingredients such as Ritz crackers, Oreo cookies, and Cadbury chocolate bars.

This report is published just one day after Mondelez said it has barred 12 upstream suppliers due to their deforestation practices. Mondelez is a snack food giant and it is based in Illinois. Its journey for a sustainable palm oil started in 2009. They further devoted to sourcing certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) in 2013. This is according to WWF’s palm oil scorecard.

In spite of this commitment, Greenpeace reported that 22 of the company’s suppliers of bigger than the city of Chicago. About 25,000 hectares of this rainforest were forested orangutan habitat.

According to the report, Mondelez gets much of this so called ‘dirty palm oil’ from Wilmer International which is the largest palm oil trader. About 80 percent of Wilmar’s palm oil is sourced from third-party suppliers. A policy of ‘No Deforestation, No Feat, No Exploitation’ was adopted in 2013. Nevertheless, Wilmar has failed to monitor its suppliers in all of their operations to find whether they comply with this policy, Greenpeace said.

‘It’s outrageous that despite promising to clean up its palm oil almost ten years ago, Mondelēz is still trading with forest destroyers,’ Said Kiki Taufik in a press release, which is a global head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Indonesia forests campaign. ‘Palm oil can be made without destroying forests, yet our investigation discovered that Mondelēz suppliers are still trashing forests and wrecking orangutan habitat, pushing these beautiful and intelligent creatures to the brink of extinction. They’re literally dying for a cookie.’

Among the most commonly used vegetable oil in the world is palm oil. It can be found in baked goods, chocolate, detergents, soaps and much more. However, its production involves clearing of tropical rainforests to the oil palm trees. It is a driver of deforestation, human rights violations, wildlife habitat degradation, and climate change.

This report comes on the heels of Greenpeace and Iceland Foods’ viral ‘no palm oil Christmas’ commercial which was banned from UK televisions for being political.

Greenpeace has further urged Mondelez to cut ties with the Singaporean oil processing company.

‘Mondelēz CEO, Dirk Van de Put, promised to offer consumers ‘snacking made right.’ But there is nothing right about palm oil that is produced by killing orangutans and fueling climate change,’ Taufik said in the press release. ‘This must be a wakeup call to Mondelez and other household brands to take action and cut Wilmar off until it can prove its palm oil is clean. Ultimately, if big brands can’t find enough clean palm oil to make their products then they need to start using less.’

On Monday, Mondelēz underscored its goal of 100 percent transparency and sustainability in the palm oil industry.

‘Mondelēz International remains fully committed to driving change in the palm oil sector and today’s actions against 12 upstream suppliers reflect that commitment,’ Jonathan Horrell director of sustainability at Mondelez said in a press release. ‘We will continue to pursue existing and new initiatives that seek to drive effective change across palm oil-growing communities. The company understands that this complex challenge can only be solved through collaboration with all actors in the palm oil supply chain, from growers to suppliers and buyers, as well as local and national government and non-governmental organizations.’

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