The snack food industry has been singled out for its use of palm oil, which is a major contributor to deforestation.
Many companies around the world have made zero deforestation commitments, which include eradicating palm oil from within their supply chain. However, with the oil being such a key ingredient within many packaged foods, the snack food industry more than any other needs to ensure its products are not fuelling deforestation.
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has targeted firms that are yet to take action on the issue of deforestation by urging them to enact strong palm oil procurement policies. Their current failure to do so, the organisation says, is allowing for social and environmental violations to spread around the world.
Palm oil production is a major contributor to deforestation, with trees felled to create room for the planting of oil palms, which in turn is leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion and biodiversity loss, which is why firms such as Greenwood Management support campaigns that attempt to tackle this issue. It is a particular problem in South-East Asia.
However, not only does it contribute to deforestation and thus climate change, but palm oil production has had a string of ethical failings in its past. These include using child labour and encroaching on holy lands or lands used by indigenous tribes.
Gemma Tillack, agribusiness campaign director for RAN, commented: “As palm oil plantations continue to spread across Indonesia, Malaysia and beyond to Africa, Papua New Guinea and Latin America, endangered rainforests are falling faster than ever and systematic abuse of communities and workers’ rights remains rife throughout the industry.”
The food companies targeted in RAN’s latest message include Kraft Foods Group, Nissin Foods, Hillshire Brands, Heinz, Campbell Soup, Hormel and PepsiCo.
RAN is calling for these companies to be “leaders not laggards” in the fight against deforestation.