General Mills Linked to Rainforest Destruction

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Nell Greenberg

General Mills Linked to Rainforest Destruction

Maker of Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Toaster Strudel Buying Unsustainable Palm Oil

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn - Local food giant General Mills (GIS) came under fire today for its use
of unsustainable palm oil, a food commodity strongly linked to
rainforest destruction in Southeast Asia, as 42 activists with
Rainforest Action Network, Walker Church and other concerned community
organizations unfurled a 30 x 70 ft. banner reading “Warning: General
Mills Destroys Rainforests” outside of the company’s Minneapolis
headquarters building.

The protest is the start of a corporate
campaign against General Mills, asking the trusted food company to
publicly commit to sourcing only palm oil produced in a socially and
environmentally responsible manner. At least one hundred General Mills
products, including such trusted brands as Pillsbury, Betty Crocker,
Stovetop Hamburger Helper and Toaster Strudel contain palm oil or palm
oil derivatives, violating General Mills’ stated social and
environmental commitments.

“General Mills could do a lot to
transform the palm oil supply in the food industry and to protect
rainforests, communities and the climate,” said Madeline Gardner,
Minneapolis-based activist. “As an industry leader and a trusted brand,
General Mills could have a huge impact in changing the food industry
for good.”

Production of palm oil, found in roughly half of all
products sold in U.S. supermarkets, has risen significantly in recent
years to meet growing worldwide demand. As a result, palm oil
plantations are expanding rapidly into the tropical forests of
Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, contributing heavily to
global climate change, species extinction, and the displacement of
Indigenous and local communities.

“Palm oil is a leading cause
of rainforest destruction in places like Indonesia,” said Ashley
Schaeffer of Rainforest Action Network. “As long as General Mills is
using irresponsibly sourced palm oil, their customers will have to
worry that they are contributing money to rainforest destruction.”

the degradation and destruction of tropical rainforests is responsible
for fifteen percent of all annual greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon
emissions resulting from Indonesia’s rapid deforestation account for
around eight percent of global emissions: more than the combined
emissions from all the cars, planes, trucks, buses and trains in United
States. This huge carbon footprint from forest destruction has made
non-industrialized Indonesia the third-largest global greenhouse gas
emitter, behind only the U.S. and China.

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Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is headquarted in San Francisco, California with offices staff in Tokyo, Japan, and Edmonton, Canada, plus thousands of volunteer scientists, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens around the world. We believe that a sustainable world can be created in our lifetime, and that aggressive action must be taken immediately to leave a safe and secure world for our children.  

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