First, I love shopping at Trader Joes and I don't think I have met a person who doesn't. I love stopping in every week to see what new offerings you have like edamame hummus or kale and cauliflower curry salad. Everyone that works for your company seems so happy and that rubs off on the customers. In fact, the only time I shop at other grocers are when you don't have something obscure that I'm looking for.
These reasons make it really hard to break up with you but I feel like I have to until you can make a very important change. How can you be so great, yet put profit before the environment? I'm not some sort of extremist. I don't belong to any sort of diet lifestyle. I'm not vegan or vegetarian (although I do love your veggie burgers!). I do have a heart though and it's breaking knowing simple greed and penny pinching is the reason tens of thousands of orangutans and sumatran tigers are dying.
"According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.
There are over 300,000 different animals found throughout the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, many of which are injured, killed and displaced during deforestation. In addition, palm oil development increases accessibility of animals to poachers and wildlife smugglers who capture and sell wildlife as pets, use them for medicinal purposes or kill them for their body parts. The destruction of rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra is therefore not only a conservation emergency, but a major animal welfare crisis as well.
Wildlife such as orangutans have been found buried alive, killed from machete attacks, guns and other weaponry. Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades. This either occurs during the deforestation process, or after the animal enters a village or existing palm oil plantation in search of food. Mother orangutans are also often killed by poachers and have their babies taken to be sold or kept as pets, or used for entertainment in wildlife tourism parks in countries such as Thailand and Bali.
Other megafauna that suffer as a result of this development include species like the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Pygmy Elephant, Clouded Leopard and Proboscis Monkey. Road networks that are constructed to allow palm oil plantation workers and equipment access to the forest also increase accessibility of these areas to poachers that are looking for these kinds of valuable animals. This allows poachers to comfortably drive to an area to sit and wait for their target where previously they may have had to trek through inaccessible areas of forest." (via www.saynotopalmoil.com
I understand your business model has you debt free like your relative company Aldi's. It's important to profit in order to pay your wonderful employees the great wages you do. I also read that you are sourcing a lot of your palm oil from South America now but won't disclose how much. While that is great that you are being proactive, every hour you continue buying your palm oil (which you are now marketing and making a trend: http://www.traderjoes.com/digin/post/organic-red-palm-oil
) from Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo you are supporting the destruction of the environment and orangutans ONLY habitat. While that product specifically may not come from Indonesia, most of the other products you sell contain palm oil that does. Why can't you say where 100% of your palm oil comes from? Why can't you be the company that chooses to make a difference? You have the audience that would be captivated by your decision to do so.
Please ask Trader Joe's to stop buying non-sustainable palm oil and let's use our power to make a difference. This is just one company. Many more including most large food corporations in the USA have a long way to go as well. It's my hope that Trader Joes will use it's voice to inspire change and raise awareness.
To anyone reading this, "organic" doesn't mean sustainable. Look for brands that are eco-certified or sustainably resourced.
For more information please check out the following: