Procter & Gamble claims that nearly 5 billion people use its products, including the anti-dandruff shampoo Head & Shoulders. What’s not so squeaky clean is that P&G is making those billions of consumers unknowingly part of an environmental scandal.
Today Greenpeace reveals results of a year-long investigation showing P&G sources palm oil from companies connected to widespread forest devastation, habitat destruction, and forest fires. Together, these are pushing the Sumatran tiger to the edge of extinction.
It means that every time you and your family reach for a bottle of Head & Shoulders — from the supermarket shelf to the shower — P&G makes you a part of its scandal.
Palm oil is a common ingredient in detergents, shampoos, cosmetics, and other household goods that the company manufactures. Actually, it’s a very common ingredient in a lot of consumer products.
Palm oil is not the problem. Palm oil from forest destruction – dirty palm oil – is.
Greenpeace investigative team witnesses the newly cleared forest in an oil palm plantation owned by PT Wana Catur Jaya Utama concession, a subsidiary of BW Plantation, which is a palm oil supplier to Procter & Gamble in Central Kalimantan.
Greenpeace found that orangutan habitat was being cleared in plantations linked to P&G’s supply chain. Land used for palm oil cultivation owned by the BW Plantation Group, a company connected to P&G’s supply chain, also correlates with the deaths and burials of orangutans next to the Tanjung Puting National Park. In other cases, Greenpeace documented ongoing forest clearance within the concessions of two producers known to directly supply P&G.
A remaining log from the recent clearance of orangutan habitat in inside the PT Wana Catur Jaya Utama palm oil concession in Mantangai, Kapuas district, Central Kalimantan. PT WCJU is a subsidiary of BW Plantation.
Our analysis of the company’s sourcing policies also means that the palm oil in its supply chain could be coming from companies linked to forest fires and habitat destruction, which are pushing the Sumatran tiger ever closer to the brink.
Companies without strong policies to cut deforestation from their products are exposed to illegal practices in high-risk areas, like the province of Riau in Sumatra. A prime example of this is the PT Rokan Adi Raya concession, which includes tiger habitat and forested deep peat. The concession experienced large-scale forest clearance and uncontrolled fires last year. In June 2013, over 150 fire hotspots were recorded within it. Many of P&G’s palm oil suppliers ship from Dumai, the main port of Riau province.
Smoke from smouldering fires obscures an excavator digging a peatland drainage canal in the PT Rokan Adiraya Plantation oil palm plantation near Sontang village in Rokan Hulu.
What can we do?
It’s time for us to make P&G change its ways.
There are some companies that are already moving to eliminate forest destruction from their supply chains. Among them is the cereal stalwart, Kellogg’s, which has committed to removing deforestation from its supply chain. Joining Kellogg’s are L’Oréal, Unilever, Ferrero, and Nestlé. The world’s largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International, has also committed to a No Deforestation Policy, which – along with the Palm Oil Innovation Group — builds on the business case for responsibly grown palm oil.
For the last eight months, we’ve confronted P&G about how it is exposing consumers to forest destruction. Instead of taking urgent action, the company is trying to greenwash its actions. It’s time Head & Shoulders commits 100% to forest protection and stops making its customers a part of the Sumatran tiger’s extinction.
A solitary rainforest tree remains standing in a recently planted palm oil plantation on former orang-utan habitat inside the PT Karya Makmur Abadi Estate II palm oil concession. PT KMA II is a subsidiary of the Malaysian Kuala Lumpar Kepong Berhad (KLK) group.
There’s no excuse for inaction.
In the top photo, baby orangutans at the Orangutan Foundation International Care Center in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan. Expansion of oil palm plantations is destroying their forest habitat.