RAN Grassroots Stick It to Palm Oil

Written by Adrian

Topics: Agribusiness

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I know, I know – after the past couple days, Halloween seems like it happened about three months ago. But I wanted to share my excitement with you about last week’s Halloween Stickering Week of Action.

When my colleague Bria and I sent out action alerts to the Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign’s grassroots activists a few weeks ago, asking them to participate in our Halloween Stickering Week of Action, we had no idea that almost 1,000 people – in 43 states and 5 Canadian provinces – would sign up! We had ordered 20,000 stickers, reading “Warning: May Contain Rainforest Destruction.” Those quickly ran out, and we had to rush-order another 10,000.

Between October 27 and 31, these 1,000 rainforest defenders went to their local supermarkets, and stickered palm oil-containing Halloween candy made by Hershey and Nestle. These two massive corporations buy their palm oil from ADM, Bunge, and Cargill – three of the world’s most notorious rainforest-destroyers – and they’ve spent the last several months doing everything they can to avoid signing our pledge to commit to helping us end the massive destruction of rainforests for palm oil production.

ADM, Bunge, and Cargill are expanding palm oil plantations into tropical rainforests on a massive scale – threatening thousands of species, displacing Indigenous communities, and accelerating climate change. Right now, Indonesia produces more greenhouse gases than any other country in the world except the U.S. and China – and the vast majority of those greenhouse gases come from burning rainforests. And if the palm oil industry gets its way, things are only going to get worse: the Indonesian palm oil industry plans to expand its plantations by over 40,000 square miles by 2020 – an amount of rainforest the size of Kentucky.

It’s so incredibly inspiring to see that so many people across the country care enough about the destructiveness of palm oil that they’re willing to take time out of their lives, and join RAN’s Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign in taking action to help stop the spread of ADM, Bunge, and Cargill’s destructive palm oil production. Their actions send a clear message to palm oil-using corporations like Nestle and Hershey: we demand more responsibility from our corporations, and we’re going to hold them accountable for the destruction caused by the palm oil that they’re putting into our food.

This reportback comes from Colby, who stickered at grocery stores in Encinitas, CA:

It was super fun! This time we went to Target. A few people showed interest. I was talking to them and telling them about Palm Oil. I gave them literature and they walked out palm oil-free. 

RAN’s power comes from our grassroots – and, by that measure, it seems like we’re doing pretty good.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated! Y’all rock.

9 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Bette Simons says:

    During a stress test,a doctor from Malaysia/Bornel said there are not orangatans or elephants in these areas. They are all in zoos. I was baffled but changed the topic to which butter sub to use. I told her even Smart Balance with olive oil has “palm fruit” in it. Maybe she will read the label.I’ll write Smart Balance again, but what should we use?

  2. Adrian says:

    Hey Bette,

    Thanks for taking such an active interest in the campaign!

    I just talked to Bria – one of my co-campaigners, who lived in Borneo for many years – and she confirmed that there are orangutans in Borneo. There aren’t many left, though – rainforest destruction has robbed the orangutan of much of its natural habitat, and it’s entirely possible that no orangutans will be left in the wild within several decades, if the current rate of destruction continues.

    As far as Earth Balance is concerned… I’ve had trouble finding a sustainable butter substitute as well. I’d recommend writing to the company, and sharing your concerns with them.

  3. Frank L says:

    Bette & Adrian

    Sad but you’ve both been duped. RAN’s position on palm oil and rainforest destruction is as shallow as a discount birdbath..as cheap as they come!

    RAN claims that the orang utans will become extinct by 2011 in their website. Have you questioned how much credibility RAN has with that statement when even Adriand’s friend, Bria who lives in Borneo, confirmed that there are orang utans there….in fact between 45,000 to 65,000 of them at last count?

    I would be VERY wary of RAN’s claims as to me, they are making use of all da young people to do their dirty work. You see, I think that RAN gets paid to run down palm oil, which is probably the most productive of all oil seeds. I should know. I work in an oil refinery. One hectare of palm oil yields 4.5 metric tons of oil compared to the typical 0.5 metric ton yield of other edible oils like soy, canola and sunflower. How can such a high yielding crop be accused of causing rainforest destruction. Can you see the twisted logic of RAN now? Higher productivity means that less land is needed to produce the same amount of oil!

  4. lauren says:

    Hello, good work y’all! And to Frank L, just look in the national geographic magazine or on Google Earth, or videos on youtube what kind of destruction and misary palm oil causes. Really terrible.

  5. S. Woo says:

    Just a comment to Frank L: The logic on a greater yeild equating to less rainforest destruction is fallible. It doesn’t matter how great the yeild is per any unit of measure: greed is greed and that just makes it a more desirable crop to plant.

  6. S. Woo says:

    Just a comment to Frank L: The logic on a great yield equating to less rainforest destruction is fallible. It dowsn’t matter how great the yield is per any unit of measure: greed is greed and that just makes it a more desirable crop to plant.

  7. Lim Swie Liong says:

    Hei Boss;

    Please remember:

    1. Total area cultivated in UK is about 70% of total UK’s area, but in Malaysia and Indonesia now less than 20%.

    2. Total area cultivated for vegetable oil in your countries more than 100 million ha, but oil palm just 10 million ha with the productivity 5 times of your plantations.

    3. Soybean, canola/rape sheed, sun flower, are less than one year crop, so every year you must clear the area…. but oil palm could survive economically until 25 years and no land clearing amid the period.

    So what? Please compare apple to apple…. vegetable oil (soybean, canola, sunflower) with vegetable oil also (coconut oil, oil palm etc) it’s fair okey?

    Your govt give huge subsidy for soy bean, canola and sun flower’s farmer…. but in developing countries, the farmer subside all of you……. stupid!

  8. Cargill says:


    Yeah all of you are greed. Please find who’s Cargill, Unilever, Evans, United Plantations, Austindo etc. etc. Aren’t they your families? Double Standard.

    Orangutan Activist? Yeah…. just write a proposal which blame tropics countries of illegal logging, oil palm forest destructio etc. etc…. it is just for dollar from donors… after that, the activist spend huge money from donors to buy a sophisticated laptop, cocktail party,travelling abroad… etc… etc, and after the money is empty… start to write a proposal again …. with a global warming issues…. NATO (no action talk only)……

  9. Sukanto Tanoto says:

    Did You Know?

    In 1990 you said that orangutan will extinct in the next 3 years. Now you say again that orangutan will extinct in the next 3 years (2011). And I thing in 2020 you will say the same words again, orangutan will extinct in 2023.

    Which countries has rain forest?….no one of yours….. so please make forest in your own country…. capitalist….. and now you can see how greed your CEO, industrialized countries….. and now please help your countries from global crisis………..

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