Breaking New Video: Inside the Cargill Lock Down

Written by Ashley Schaeffer

Topics: Agribusiness

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Last week 10 activists entered Cargill’s private executive mansion, known as the Lake Office, with a special delivery for CEO Greg Page and the other top executives that run Cargill operations worldwide from this secretive chateau in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN.

See video of the delivery for yourself:

As the largest privately owned corporation in the country and second largest in the world, the top 20 executives who work in this Cargill mansion are intentionally far removed and very protected from the ways in which their company’s operations around the world impact rainforests and the species & peoples depending on them for survival.  And this is specifically why we decided to bring the sound of Cargill’s rainforest destruction right to the offices of these top executives – so they can’t continue to hide from the truth.

Do you think Cargill CEO Greg Page, who makes double digit millions of dollars a year (General Mills CEO Ken Powell made $13.4 million in 2008 so we can only guess how much the privately owned agribusiness monster CEO makes), knows that species like orangutans, Sumatran tigers and elephants are on the brink of extinction, and direly need Cargill to adopt a palm oil policy before they are all extinct?

RAN Activists Lock Down At Cargill: Photo By D. Gilbert

To give these corporate executives the benefit of the doubt, we’re guessing probably not. Which is why we locked down inside of their Lake Office – to bring the chainsaws and the sound of orangutan extinction to their CEO’s office, begging that they wake up and adopt a responsible palm oil policy now! We demanded a meeting with CEO Greg Page and did not fall for Mark Murphy’s attempt to get us to unlock to engage in more “constructive dialogue,” which for 2.5 years has proven unsuccessful in getting real protection for tropical forests in South East Asia.

Breaking major media headlines across the country, threatening the company’s reputation and re-branding Cargill as a company that specializes in rainforest destruction, our action made a huge splash. But we need your help to continue pressuring both Cargill and their customers – such as General Mills, who have the power to get Cargill to change – until they adopt a socially and environmentally responsible palm oil policy! Because the clock is ticking for Indonesia’s rainforests…we don’t have much time to wait.

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

  1. janet polansky says:

    Are other actions planned?We live in the Minneapolis area, which has a large cargill presence.

  2. Ashley Schaeffer says:

    Hi Janet,
    Yes, we are very active in the Minneapolis area as that’s where both of our corporate targets, General Mills and Cargill, are based. Please get in touch with our RAN Twin Cities chapter – they’re on Facebook.
    Hope to see you next time!

  3. Shawna says:

    I think it is interesting how you begin your article with calling Cargill’s office secretive. They’re really not being secretive at all, if you actually sat down to have a civil discussion with them, they are maintaining the natural state of their property to help the environment and those who live around them. May I ask why you seem to be so focused on destroying a company yet live in WOOD homes and use WOOD products? It seems as if you are secretive about your own life because you want the amenities, but choose to shift off the blame somewhere else. Businesses provide the products that we demand, or we’d go somewhere else to get them from another. Its econ 101.

  4. Ashley says:

    Shawna,

    Cargill is one of the largest privately owned corporations in the world and therefore have zero transparency. This means they are very secretive. It’s almost impossible to access trade data or supply chain information on their company. This is also secretive.

    We have been in dialogue (“civil discussion”) with their VP of Corporate Affairs for years but he is not a decision maker on the issue of palm oil so we’ve been trying to get a meeting with someone else who can facilitate major change within the company. Which is why we did this lock down action calling attention to Mr. Page, the CEO.

    Since this action and its widespread coverage in the media, Cargill has made a few concrete steps in the right direction because the issue has become more important to corporate executives. This is clearly not an attempt to “destroy the company” but rather get them to wake up and stop destroying fragile rainforests, threatened species and diverse forest communities. Which, if I may add, is quite the opposite of destruction.

  5. David Wayne says:

    I just came across this old article while surfing. Had to smile at the comment of making a ‘huge splash’. Really – as in jumping in the neighbors pool while he’s away on vacation and nobody knows but you have made a personnel point and can tell the story forever to bored friends? Yeah, you probably made that kind of splash dear. 2 years later and look at the effect you had!

    Shawna’s right about enjoying your lifestyle while attempting to crap on those who make it possible. I’m sure Cargill operates according to the laws of the countries wherein it buys palm oil (do they own the production or just buy the oil). Take it up with the governments in those countries if you think there’s a problem instead of stupidly locking yourselves in an offic here and then patting yourselves on the backs about how effective you were. Pathetic.

    Oh, I’m not sending you any money either.
    David

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