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article imageOp-Ed: Campaign against Doritos and sustainable oil continues - update

By Tim Sandle     Jan 14, 2015 in World
Campaign group SumOfUs.org have released a new online advert to coincide with Doritos annual ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ commercial competition. This is part of the long running campaign against the company over rainforest destruction.
As reported by Digital Journal last year, an activist group called SumOfUs.org has stated that rainforests are being destroyed in order to build extensive palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia. The campaigners note that here: "workers, and even children, are trapped in modern slavery to cultivate the vegetable oil. Clearing forests and peatlands is driving endangered species like orangutans to extinction, all the while polluting the Earth's atmosphere with gigatons of greenhouse gases."
In order to keep up the pressure, SumOfUs.org has created a new viral video advert which is directly aimed at Doritos and its owner, PepsiCo. The message focuses on the unsustainable palm oil used in Doritos products and the consequential impact on Southeast Asian rainforests.
The advert is designed to coincide with Doritos' annual ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ commercial competition. With the competition, consumers (so-termed “fans of the brand”) enter their self-made commercials. Two of the 10 television commercials will be selected to air during Super Bowl XLIX, the championship game of the National Football League in the U.S., which is viewed annually by more than 100 million people around the world. The video was directed by Peter Slee and produced by Briony Benjamin from Motion Picture Company (MPC).
The alternative video is highlights, according to the campaign group, "Doritos’ irresponsible practices." This is through a love story in which a man and a woman connect over their love of Doritos, only to have that love soured when they learn of the corporation's destructive palm oil sourcing that devastates rainforests in Southeast Asia. The advert is available online.
At the same time, in the U.K. new bus ads will run on six routes in Reading for starting the week of January 12th to run for two weeks. Reading is where PepsiCo’s U.K. headquarters are located.
In response, Pepsico have stated: "It is no surprise that SumofUs’ continual mischaracterizations of our palm oil commitments are patently false and run counter to the positive reception our policies have received from expert organizations in this arena. PepsiCo has repeatedly stated that we are absolutely committed to 100% sustainable palm oil in 2015 and to zero deforestation in our activities and sourcing. This latest public relations stunt, focused on fiction rather than facts, does nothing to foster positive dialogue or affect positive change. We find our policies effective and stand by them."
To the Pepsico statement, SumOfUs and their allies say that they several very specific requests for PepsiCo, none of which are covered by the company's current policy. These are:
Explicitly include upholding workers’ rights, land tenure rights and resolving conflicts in accordance with international human and labor rights laws and norms;
Clearly state no development on peatlands regardless of depth;
Prohibit burning;
Include support for smallholders across the operations of producer companies in its global supply chain;
Commit to tracing the palm oil it sources to the plantations where the oil palm fruit is grown (it currently only commits to the mill) and undertaking independent verification of its supply chain to ensure it is not consuming conflict palm oil;
Immediately assess the risks in its Indonesian and Malaysian supply chains given that these are the regions with the highest rates of deforestation and conflict caused by conflict palm oil.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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