Blowing General Mills’ FUSE in Chicago

Written by Ashley Schaeffer

Topics: Agribusiness

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Last night eleven activists stormed the downtown Chicago Marriott Hotel, site of the 2010 FUSE industry conference, to warn General Mills that they must stop delaying and protect endangered orangutans now!

But what do endangered orangutans or Sumatran tigers have to do with General Mills, anyway?

This year’s FUSE Conference brought over 400 industry leaders together for 3 days of “Reclaiming the Future.” Conveniently, many of Cargill’s palm oil customers such as General Mills, Kraft and Hershey’s, were in attendance.

Over 400 industry leaders awoke this morning to find colorful educational postcards under their door, reading “General Mills: Rainforest Destruction Guaranteed,” “Lucky Charms is Magically Destructive” and “Cheerios: Rainforest Destruction in every spoonful.”

If the industry leaders didn’t understand after reading our materials over breafast how General Mills is displacing Indigenous peoples, exacerbating climate change and threatening rainforest species like the orangutan by using palm oil products in their cereal, they definitely did once they got to the conference’s first session of the day.

At 10am as General Mills finished up it’s panel on design and marketing, several activists, dressed in suits, joined General Mills, Kraft and other Cargill palm oil customer staff for a networking break.  Introducing themselves as Cargill interns wishing to share new corporate materials, the activists were greeted with warm handshakes and friendly smiles.  “Cargill interns” handed out the new corporate materials, which were pamphlets hi-lighting Cargill’s role in rainforest destruction, gross human rights abuses, and species extinction.

After enough jaws had dropped and after making sure every speaker podium in the Conference had a Cargill postcard, the palm oil activists called it a day.

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