The FINANCIAL — Kellogg’s, one of the big companies who make breakfast cereals, has announced changing its palm oil policy following a petition created by two schoolgirls. World’s largest brands destroyed an area of rainforest the size of Singapore in less than three years for the palm oil industry.
Asha and Jia Kirkpatrick, aged 12 and 10, launched a petition after hearing about rainforest destruction stemming from the industry. Sisters from Bedfordshire, started an online petition back in August 2018 which got almost a million signatures. Palm oil is found in lots of things from cereal to toothpaste but thousands of acres of Indonesian rainforest have been destroyed to create it, BBC reported.
The petition, which is titled: “Kellogg’s: Stop destroying rainforests for cheap palm oil!” was first created two years ago by sisters, then 11 and nine years old. Their aim, they wrote in the campaign’s description on Change.org, was to urge the food manufacturer to stop sourcing their palm oil “from unsustainable companies that are destroying rainforests and killing orangutans”, and to “trace the palm oil from seed to shelf and inform the public exactly where it came from,” according to The Independent. “As a socially responsible company, Kellogg’s is committed to working with its global palm oil suppliers to source fully traceable palm oil that is produced in a manner that’s environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable, which includes helping to mitigate deforestation,” the firm said in a statement sent to The Independent.
Sisters pointed to a Greenpeace study which found that some of the world’s largest brands – including Nestlé, Colgate, Kellogg’s and Unilever – destroyed an area of rainforest the size of Singapore in less than three years. The brands were buying their palm oil from 25 producers responsible for clearing over 130,000 hectares of rainforest over two years and nine months from the start of 2016. The environmental charity has warned that 25 orangutans are killed every day as more rainforest is cleared for the palm oil industry, according to News Talk.
Mother of the girls Harvinder Dhinsa said it was “fantastic” Kellogg’s had agreed to make changes but the family would wait to see how the policies would work in practice. After launching their campaign the sisters were invited to visit Kellogg’s UK offices and Mrs Dhinsa said they were hoping to follow up with the company to see the impact of the changes. As part of its pledges Kellogg’s has said it will work with smallholders to increase efficiency, work with independent non-governmental organizations that will monitor suppliers and invest in restoring forests and wildlife, BBC wrote.
Kellogg’s was placed 63rd on the WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard for 2019, indicating a ‘middling’ commitment to change. Its newly invigorated approach to sustainable palm oil cultivation will undoubtedly increase its standing in future surveys. It was recently announced that Kellogg’s granola brand Bear Naked had managed to develop a 100% recyclable pouch after 18 months of R&D. The finished result – a rarity for contemporary granola packaging – was the result of large-scale collaboration between companies. The company has also released information that it will stop using ‘glyphosate’ (a controversial chemical used in agriculture) for wheat and oat harvests by 2025. This is part of Kellogg’s ongoing ‘Kellogg’s Origins’ programme, designed to help over 500,000 farmers worldwide adopt sustainable agricultural practices and make its sourced ingredients as eco-friendly as possible, according to CSO Magazine.