SAN FRANCISCO ― Today, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) welcomed the new palm oil policy issued by the Kraft Heinz Company, but continued to warn customers that its much-loved brands remain at risk of containing Conflict Palm Oil.
RAN called on the Kraft Heinz Company to develop a more robust policy after its merger in 2016, as both companies were lagging behind their peers in adopting commitments to end the destruction of all forests, peatlands and the egregious violations of human rights common in the operations of members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the certification scheme that both companies relied upon.
Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network (RAN), issued the following statement:
“Kraft Heinz Company has taken the first step in strengthening its commitments to protect rainforests, peatlands and to uphold the rights of communities and workers in its palm oil supply chain. It is disappointing, however, that the policy lacks a deadline for the implementation of the policy. Customers will continue to be at risk of buying products that contain Conflict Palm Oil for years to come.
“Right now, critical rainforests in the Leuser Ecosystem are being destroyed for palm oil plantations. It is shocking that Kraft Heinz have not declared an immediate moratorium on the destruction of Indonesia’s precious rainforests and peatlands, or committed to enforce sanctions on suppliers that breach its policy.
“It is critical that Kraft Heinz turns this paper promise to protect workers’ rights into real actions in the plantations where workers are being abused. Workers are too often cheated out of fair pay and benefits, exposed to toxic chemicals, are being forced to bring their children and spouses to work, and are sometimes exposed to forced labor conditions after being trafficked from other regions or countries.
“Kraft Heinz Company is the third largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest globally. Given the scale of its social and environmental impacts it must uphold its responsibility to its customers, investors and the planet by sourcing only truly responsible palm oil. A critical next step for the company is to publish an ambitious time-bound implementation plan that outlines the milestones to achieve this goal.
“Rainforest Action Network will hold the Kraft Heinz Company and its peers in the Snack Food 20 accountable until these paper policies have been translated into real changes for forests, communities and workers on the frontlines of palm oil expansion.”