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Success! You made Nestlé drop dodgy palm oil!

Posted by Jamie Woolley - 17th May 2010

You’ll never guess what. Nestlé has only gone and agreed to our campaign demands! And you’ve made this possible. We really, seriously could not have done it without you. Now we need to move straight on to the next big player in the palm oil industry – banking giant HSBC.

With nearly 1.5m views of our Kit Kat advert, over 200,000 emails sent, hundreds of phone calls and countless Facebook comments, you made it clear to Nestlé that it had to address the problems with the palm oil and paper products it buys. When combined with orang-utans at Nestlé HQ’s in Croydon, Frankfurt, Beijing and Jakarta, and banners dropped over the AGM in Switzerland, Nestle top brass have really been under pressure.

Since we launched our campaign just eight weeks ago, Greenpeace campaigners have met several times with Nestlé executives to discuss the problems with sourcing of palm oil and paper products. It certainly seemed like things were moving forward in these discussions. But we didn’t expect Nestlé to come up with such a comprehensive ‘zero deforestation’ policy so quickly.

Nestlé have developed a plan which will identify and remove any companies in their supply chain with links to deforestation so their products will have “no deforestation footprint”. These companies include the infamous Sinar Mas, and this move will also have implications for the likes of Cargill. This plan still needs to be followed up with action, and The Forest Trust (TFT) – an independent organisation we’ve worked with before – will be closely monitoring Nestlé’s progress. In fact, TFT worked on the plan and will be making sure Nestlé stick to it.

But as many of you have pointed out, Nestlé is not the only company involved in the palm oil and paper products industry and while this is a fantastic result, there’s still a lot more to do before the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests is brought to a halt. So let’s get started right away.

HSBC may not be a company that springs to mind when you think of palm oil, but by investing in Sinar Mas it’s also funding deforestation. The bank claims to be concerned about our planet, and that it has “a long standing commitment to protecting the environment and believes it is fundamental to a thriving society and sound economy.” As we’ve revealed in the past, it’s hypocrisy of the highest order: despite having a lending policy that supposedly excludes anything that threatens rainforests, HSBC is turning a blind eye to what Sinar Mas is doing.

For instance, HSBC’s policy says that it will “not provide financial services which directly support operations in wetlands on the Ramsar [Convention on Wetlands of International Importance] list”. And yet we’ve recently published evidence to show that Sinar Mas has expanded its operations around the Danau Sentarum National Park in Kalimantan, one of the very wetlands on the Ramsar list.

HSBC bosses need to know the devastating effect their investments are having, and that they can’t bank on deforestation or driving orang-utans to extinction.

Email HSBC CEO Michael Geoghegan now – you made Nestlé take action, let’s make HSBC listen as well.

Article Tagged as: Featured, Indonesia, Palm oil, Successes