'Dying for a biscuit': Oreo biscuit and Ritz cracker maker targeted by Greenpeace

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Greenpeace International is urging Mondelēz to cut ties with palm oil producers that are endanging the orangutan. Pic: ©Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace
Greenpeace International is urging Mondelēz to cut ties with palm oil producers that are endanging the orangutan. Pic: ©Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace

Related tags Mondelez Palm oil Greenpeace Wilmar International Protest

The environmental watchdog is calling on Mondelēz to sever ties with Wilmar International – one of the world’s biggest agribusinesses – by staging a protest outside the snack maker’s corporate headquarters yesterday.
Greenpeace 1
©Chris J Ratcliffe

More than 30 Greenpeace UK volunteers recreated a lifesize burnt and smouldering rainforest complete with lifelike animatronic orangutan at the main entrance to Mondelēz’s offices near Uxbridge.

Five climbers scaled the building’s exterior to hang a banner that read ‘Oreo, drop dirty palm oil,’​ while volunteers decorated it with giant Oreo-shaped stickers.

They were protesting the company’s use of palm oil, which, it claims, is ‘still pushing orangutans towards extinction.’

Broken promise

The organization claims Mondelēz has failed to keep a promise made in 2010 that it would stop buying palm oil from ‘forest destroyers.’

According to its latest investigation, between 2015 and 2017, 22 of the company’s palm oil suppliers had cleared at least 70,000 hectares of rainforest in Indonesia, home to the critically endangered orangutan.

Greenpeace International’s report states that, although Mondelēz claims to have been purchasing entirely responsible palm oil since 2013,‘in practice almost 95% cent of the palm oil it buys is covered by ‘book-and-claim’ certificates – by far the weakest of the certification models offered by the main palm oil industry body, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).’

Nothing’s changed

“Oreo promised to stop buying palm oil from forest destroyers years ago but nothing’s changed and now, orangutans are literally dying for a biscuit,”​ said Greenpeace UK campaigner Fiona Nicholls.

“We’ve seen just how many people care about deforestation for palm oil this week and we’ve brought messages from hundreds of Oreo’s customers here today. It’s time Oreo listened.

“Palm oil can be grown without destroying rainforests and Oreo can help change the palm oil industry for good by dropping the dirtiest palm oil trader of all - Wilmar.”

Greenpeace claims Wilmar is ‘the biggest and dirtiest palm oil trader in the world.’

Committed to change

Mondelēz commented on the allegations, stating it is committed to eradicating deforestation in the palm oil supply chain, adding it was actively working with suppliers to ensure palm oil is fully traceable.

A company spokesman added that, as a result of breaches to its standards, 12 companies to date have been excluded from its supply chain.

Iceland's TV ad

Meanwhile, a petition to release Iceland's banned palm oil TV advert – which went vital aftering being banned for being ‘too political’ – has reached over 850,000 signatures. Iceland is a committed environmental campaigner. Earlier this year, the retailer announced it would ban palm oil from its own brand products by the end of 2018.

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