Environment group Greenpeace has claimed social media led to its
success in a campaign that linked global food giant Nestle's chocolate
bar KitKat to deforestation in Indonesian rainforests and the
destruction of orang-utan habitats.
Today in Malaysia, Nestle announced a partnership with
not-for-profit organisation The Forest Trust (TFT), promising to adhere
to responsible sourcing guidelines for palm oil.
In a Greenpeace report titled Caught Red-handed,
launched on March 17, Greenpeace exposed Nestle's use of Indonesian
logging company Sinar Mas and subsidiaries including Asia Pulp and Paper
to obtain palm oil.
Palm oil is used as an ingredient in Nestle chocolate
products, including its well known KitKat chocolate bars.
Greenpeace said Sinar Mas was implicated in rainforest
destruction and the destruction of orang-utan habitats as it planted
plantations for palm oil and pulp.
An accompanying video posted on YouTube went on to record
more than 1 million views - in part because Nestle had attempted to
have it removed, Stephen Campbell, the head of campaigns for Greenpeace
Australia Pacific, said today.
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"[Social media] played an enormous role," Mr Campbell
said. "Within 24 hours the campaign was global because of the web
By March 31, Nestle had agreed to stop dealing directly
with Sinar Mas and its subsidiaries.
Today's announcement and the involvement of TFT marks a
further step, in that it commits Nestle to no longer source Sinar Mas
products indirectly through third-party suppliers.
Nestle said it would "focus on the systematic
identification and exclusion of companies owning or managing high risk
plantations or farms linked to deforestation".
Mr Campbell said Nestle had shown a misunderstanding of
the role of social media.
"It's no longer about broadcasting, it's about
interaction," he said.