Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nestle contributing to deforestation

Have a break? from Greenpeace UK on Vimeo.

This is an excerpt from a Greenpeace website:

We all like a break, so it's time to give orang-utans one. Nestlé uses palm oil in Kit Kat and many other products which is bought from suppliers that destroy rainforests in Indonesia to grow their plantations.

As a result, threatened species like orangutans are being pushed into extinction and huge quantities of greenhouse gases are being released, accelerating climate change.

Despite suspending direct contracts with Sinar Mas, Nestle continues to be involved in the destruction of Indonesia's precious rainforests by using Sinar Mas palm oil via other suppliers such as Cargill. You've also said that you can't yet rule out being supplied paper products from their notorious subsidiary Asia Pulp & Paper via third parties.

Sinar Mas continues to destroy rainforests for palm plantations despite the negative impact on the people and wildlife that depend on it for their survival, and despite the fact that it is accelerating climate change.

You use over 320,000 tonnes of palm oil every year, which goes into a range of well-known products, including KitKat. In the last three years, your use of palm oil has almost doubled according to your own figures.

As the world's largest food and drink company, Nestle should be using its influence to insist on changes in its supply chain that would have a real benefit for the rainforests of Indonesia.

Other multinational brands like Kraft and Unilever are working to exclude Sinar Mas products from their entire supply chain and are calling for peatland protection and a halt to further rainforest destruction. Nestle must now do the same, which means insisting that your suppliers, like Cargill, stop trading with Sinar Mas.

Nestlé have so far refused to stop buying palm oil from the worst suppliers, so it's time to make them change their minds.


Maloperro11 said...

I blv there's always two sides to a story. While allegations by some NGOs from the EU are not exactly unfounded, but persistent anti-palm oil campaigns such as these seem to attack the agricultural sectors of developing countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. For eg, if the EU manipulate the emission saving figure to disqualify palm oil from being used a normal raw material for biofuel, they too are guilty of colluding with the NGOs by simply setting a trade barrier against the agricultural produce of a developing country.
The EU lobbying hard against palm oil because of deforestation also points out to a few hypocritical things: the UK has little forest left, with most land converted to agriculture. According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Britain has less than 12 per cent of its land under forest cover compared with 64 per cent for Malaysia. As a result, there is also a loss of fauna and flora and needless to say, reduced biodiversity.
Oh, and lets not forget in the 19th century too, the Europeans were busy despoiling southeast Asia for... rubber and timber trades.
There are environmentalists in southeast Asia just as there are among the NGOs in the EU. At the end of the day, people are just trying to feed themselves, raise their families and prosper. Some will win, some will lose, but everyone wants to live.
And 'unsustainable' modes of living aren't just confined to forests of southeast Asia- just ask the Americans. :)

Carpediem said...

Hi Maloperro11,

I totally agree with you. The UK and US destroyed most of their forest in exchange for industrialisation, 'modernity' and economic growth. And we have them as an example of what not to do, which is precisely why NGOs, international and local alike, are campaigning against deforestation in Southeast Asia. It is precisely because we don't want to reach a point where we only have 12 percent of land under forest cover.

If we compare with the poorest standards, we will always feel good about ourselves. Malaysia's 64 percent is much better than Britain's 12. But 64 percent today compared to 80 percent before industrialisation in Malaysia is a great loss.

But I agree with you that at the end of the day it is livelihoods that need the focus. Indonesian farmers only destroy their forests because it's a form of livelihood for them. That's why there are many NGOs working to provide alternative livelihoods for them in order to encourage farmers not to destroy their forests. Unfortunately because of demand from consumers for palm oil products, and companies see huge profits in continuing to supply such products, they continue to pay better prices to farmers to plant palm oil, and the cycle continues.

This is why consumers need to start choosing the right products. Businesses will be businesses. We the consumers need to stop giving them incentives to be socially and environmentally irresponsible

Carpe Diem

Anonymous said...

why are we following blindly the western NGOs in scolding the third world countries?

why are these NGOs not scolding the americas and europes of the world for not trying to regrow their forests?
it is so easy to say we should learn from their mistakes.

america should stop their corn farms and europe their vineyards and regrow forests on these! what do you think they will say to us if we were to ask them to do these? they'd tell us to fly a kite.

it is so easy to parrot western NGOs and scold us poor little third worlders and being thankful for being giving 'incentives' to live in the forest, while keeping mum on the other part of the problem - that those guys in the west to regrow their forests just as they are asking us to stop cutting down trees.

if u want more forests on earth, one way is not to cut trees in the poor countries.
but another is for rich countries over there to start planting trees over their beloved farms.

otherwise it is a one-sided We Rich White Guys Teach U Poor Black/Brown Fellas How To Manage The Earth.

i dont see 'tree huggers' tying themselves to corn stalks and grape vines, so don't give me the western crap.

(i do agree about the dangers of killing forests for palm oil and all, but not the We Know Best philo of these white NGOs that we tend to follow without asking - What About YOUR Own Backyards!?).

unkerr rem

Anonymous said...

for every acre of forest in Third World countries to be saved, we must insist that an acre of land in america or europe be bought back to be reforested, starting with farms at the edge of forests.
that would be a fair deal.

Robin Farmer

Carpediem said...

DearnUnkerr Rem,

I take your point, but you must not let your post-colonial complex obscure a much bigger picture here - that if both the developed and developing world don't do something, then we are all responsible for not doing something to prevent destroying our planet.

I know that Germany for one has been reforesting their land that was destroyed in part by the wars. I'm sure if you do your research you'll find many other developed countries doing so too.

There're plenty of civil groups in Europe that jealously guard their forests and protest the widening of roads etc. In the US, there are also groups that highlight the pitfalls of biofuels and advocate other more sustainable renewables that do not consume forests.

Finally, calling names is hardly a dignified way of making a point, no matter how valid. I think it's time we transcend the coloured lenses, which after all was a product of the colonialist. You using their terms makes u no better than them.

Anonymous said...

aiyah. who wants to be better than them! i want to be worse than them all.
let's burn more forests tonight, just to spite them neocolonists.
muahaha (madman laughter).

gone-mad unkerr