Friday, July 19, 2013

[biofuelwatch] FW: Slave labor linked to palm oil

Rainforest Action Network

Tell Cargill CEO Gregory Page you're outraged his company is importing palm oil made with child and slave labor
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Dear All,

Businessweek has released a groundbreaking article connecting Indonesia's palm oil industry to widespread cases of forced and child labor. The stories are truly terrifying, including workers, many of whom are children, being defrauded, abused, and held captive on palm plantations. All to grow a plant and extract its oil for use in junk food, lipsticks and other household items in our supermarkets.

As the Businessweek piece put it: "...[B]ecause palm oil companies face little pressure from consumers to change, they continue to rely on largely unregulated contractors, who often use unscrupulous practices." The power is ours to change this story. TODAY.

It's time to tell Cargill, the leading supplier of palm oil in the country, that we will not stand for child and slave labor in our food.

The Businessweek piece was instigated by a nine-month investigation of the palm oil industry by the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. The investigation focused on one of the world's most significant palm oil suppliers, Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK), a major Cargill supplier. KLK workers—men, women and children—were lured thousand of miles away from their homes with promises of good work. What they found was that they wouldn't be paid for two years, but only loaned up to $16 a month for health care and company-owned food. Many workers were locked into "stifling, windowless barracks" at night, and their national identity cards and school certificates were confiscated to prevent them from escaping.

So what did Cargill have to say about the practices of its corporate partner KLK? According to Businessweek: "Cargill defended its supplier. 'At this time, KLK is not in violation of any labor laws where they operate nor are we aware of any investigation of KLK's labor practices,' says Cargill spokeswoman Susan Eich in an e-mail."

This makes me furious. Let's make sure Cargill doesn't get away with using a PR flack to dodge its huge role in subjecting laborers and children to horrifying working conditions.

Please take the time today to tell Cargill to get conflict palm oil and slave and child labor out of our food.

Let's face it, news breaks every day and then disappears into the background. In fact, companies like Cargill count on it. But we've all seen stories that break through and facilitate epic changes. The internet really does make it possible for our communities to amplify the news we care about—news that would otherwise go unseen. Today we have the opportunity to make sure palm oil plantation workers are not alone.

In too many ways, Cargill is right at the center of palm oil's controversial web. Cargill must adopt comprehensive safeguards to prevent palm oil connected to slave and child labor, human rights abuses and rainforest destruction from tainting the world's food supply.

Please tell Cargill today that you demand the company have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to slave and child labor.

You've told us that together we need to do everything in our power to get conflict palm oil off our grocery store shelves. This article needs to become our ammunition for educating our communities and going after the companies most responsible. When you're done writing to Cargill today please take the time to encourage your friends to do the same. Let's not let this issue fade from the front page.

Campaigner Name
Thanks for all that you do,
Robin Averbeck
Senior Forests Campaigner

More info:
Bloomberg Businessweek: "Indonesia's Palm Oil Industry Rife With Human-Rights Abuses"
Understory: "BREAKING: Despite New Evidence, Cargill Denies Its Palm Oil Is Being Made By Slave Laborers"
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Rainforest Action Network
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Phone: (415) 398-4404   Fax: (415) 398-2732


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