Palm oil is the commonly used oil in many commercial goods like cookies, ice cream, shampoo, cup noodles, and more. However, most palm oil is harvested illegally by corrupt producers who are cutting down acres of rainforest in Southeast Asia to plant palm oil plantations, giving Indonesia the highest deforestation rate in the world.
Every hour, 300 football-field-sized swaths of rich forestland are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. These plantations are putting at least 200 species at risk for extinction, like the orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, and the Borneo elephant. In fact, 2,000 to 3,000 orangutans are killed every year.
Though the islands of Indonesia may seem far away, palm oil exploitation reaches each and every one of us. Scientists predict that at the current rate, the island of Borneo will contribute more than 558 million metric annual tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2020. Moreover, wastewater ponds at palm oil refineries release lots of methane, a greenhouse gas 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Palm oil production is one of the leading causes of global warming and cannot stand to be overlooked any longer.
As a staple grocery store in many communities, ShopRite has a tremendous impact on what customers buy. Many companies like Kellogg's, Hershey's, Walmart, and more have changed their corporate policies to better the environment. We think ShopRite needs to do the same.
To do so, we kindly ask ShopRite to implement a sustainable palm oil policy, stating that they will NOT buy from these illegal sources. Instead, we are asking ShopRite ensure that its supply chain is fully traceable and legally grown. Organizations like RSPO, Rainforest Action Network, and GreenPalm help food distributors like ShopRite by outlining sustainable rules and calling out illegal sources. We ask ShopRite to adopt their own set of guidelines and ensure that they are consistently followed. In order to drive real change, ShopRite should publish a time-bound plan that includes performance-based milestones that will be need to be met to cut Conflict Palm Oil by a deadline. We want ShopRite to make legal commitments toward sourcing 100% RSPO-certified palm oil by 2025, sourcing palm oil that is fully traceable to the plantation by 2025, and annually reporting progress for implementation of these policies.
We believe that developing a sustainable plan is not only achievable (as many other food distributors have already taken steps to do this), but also beneficial to ShopRite. Many of our petitioners have already made statements to avoid or boycott ShopRite if ShopRite continues to deny responsibility to this critical issue. Let ShopRite take responsibility and cut ties with any association with deforestation, animal extinction, and labor exploitation.