Tell Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane: Ban Palm Oil!

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ATTN: Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane:

Trader Joe's has always led the pack with their commitment to sustainability. In 2017 alone, TJ's donated almost $350 million dollars worth of unsold food products, eliminated the sale of 280 million pounds worth of plastic, and switched to sustainable LED lighting. They provide a livable wage and tangible advancement opportunities for their employees, and remain steadfast in their mission to being "friendly, welcoming, and generous" to all who enter their stores.

Today, we are hoping that Dan Bane and his team at Trader Joe's will continue it's mission in sustainability by eliminating catastrophic palm oil from its 474 stores across the US.

The excavation of palm oil, mainly found in the carbon-rich soil of Indonesia, has caused the clearing of hundreds of thousands of acres of tropical rainforest. Indonesia's rainforests alone contain 10 percent of the world’s known plant species, 12 percent of mammal species, and 17 percent of all known bird species. The deforestation made in order to harvest palm oil has led to widespread deaths of the sumatran tiger, elephant, javan rhinoceros, and orangutan. Indonesia is also now suffering with suffocating air quality due to the massive amounts of carbon released into the air, resulting in wildfires and human deaths. A study by Harvard and Columbia universities revealed that "the haze may have caused the premature deaths of more than 100,000 people in southeast Asia in 2015: 91,000 deaths in Indonesia; 6,500 in Malaysia and 2,200 in Singapore".

In an attempt to make the collection of palm oil more "sustainable", many companies decided to partner with the RSPO, or, "Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil", that seeks to keep the clearing of palm oil to only specific regions, similar to how trees are grown and logged in the US. However, the RSPO boasts its' involvement in the deforestation of 3.91 MILLION hectares of land that have seen no actual change in the impact on affected animals and forests in non-RSPO deforested areas. From an article from ABC Science: "In March, Greenpeace released a report naming companies which refused to publish the producers and mills they source their palm oil from, including RSPO members Johnson & Johnson, and Kraft-Heinz. And now new research published in Environmental Research Letters has cast doubt on whether RSPO certification is achieving real improvements in the sustainability of palm oil production."

Trader Joe's: You are an amazing company who has always led others by your example. Please set a new example now, and live up to your own sustainability standards by eliminating palm oil from your 474 US stores for good.

We ask that you either remove the products currently in your store that contain palm oil, or replace the ingredient. We ask that you do so not by switching to palm oil certified by the RSPO, nor by simply changing the name of palm oil to something more consumer friendly, but by removing all palm oil from your products once and for all. 

Sincerely,
Hannah Howzdy

ARTICLE SOURCES:

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/feb/04/indonesian-air-pollution-death-justice
https://www.ran.org/indonesia_s_rainforests_biodiversity_and_endangered_species/
https://www.traderjoes.com/announcement/sustainability-and-your-neighborhood-grocery-store 
https://www.rspo.org/impacts

PHOTO BY: Tony Gilding