Saturday, 14 November 2015

Someones listening... I think.

It has been quite awhile since my last post mainly because I wanted to do a post on my local patch however with all the wet weather and it being that lull time between the summer visitors leaving and the winter visitors arriving things have been pretty quiet.

In actual fact much of the town has been quiet in terms of wildlife. In this time I have started to work on my next project... as if I need anymore! This time I am going to use the Habitat Suitability Index I wrote for the Hedgehog to survey my local estate. a) this will test out my methodology and b) it will build in the spring to a survey regime to estimate the population and distribution in the area. I m quite excited about this project and have already started digitising the estate in QGIS to create the necessary maps.

This wasn't really what this blog post was to be about. Instead with all the rain induced in door time I have moved my mini palm oil campaign on a little.  At the start of the month I wrote to two of the companies I have currently decided to boycott - Cadburys and Nestle to ask them about their views on Palm Oil usage and what they are doing about it. My letter read as follows:

Dear .......,
I am writing to you to express my concern that your company is still using unsustainably sourced Palm Oil in its products. I acknowledge that Palm Oil is a widely used additive to many products and not just your chocolates however its impact on the world is too great.

As you are no doubt aware monoculture palm oil plantations are responsible for the loss of vast areas of rainforest in south east Asia and is having a critical effect on many species. In particular the keystone species – the Orangutan is under particular pressure.

As a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil it is clear that as a company you acknowledge the need to act on this issue. I would like to urge you to step up your progress. My stance is not of one of an outright ban on palm oil this is unlikely to be achievable but for large companies such as yourselves to lead the agenda for reducing the quantities used and using only registered sustainable sources.

I would like to ask you to label their products clearly as to what palm oil it contains. I hope you would support a kitemark label system so that consumers are able to make informed decisions and companies can champion their own work on the issue.

I am a huge fan of your products but have sadly decided to boycott your chocolate until you reach a target of 100% sustainable sourced palm oil and have more clearly marked your products. As a multinational company you have a responsibility to act.

I sent these two letters on the 1st of November and I recieved my first and so far only reply from Nestle's just three days later. 

I will let you read the letter for yourself as scanned below before I make my comments.

I am always skeptical of large companies and the PR machines and so I was expecting a greenwash letter from some functionary. Did I get this... Yes and No. The letter reads as a standard response to the issue but it did highlight the companies awareness of the issues and the efforts that they are taking. I think their 95% traceablilty goal is good  and achievable and I like how they acknowledge that certificates are just a sticky plaster and not a realistic function of sustainability.

I would have liked to see more evidence of their doing. They state their commitment and goals and give some evidence of there green credentials with a link to their cocoaplan but why is their no link to work on their palm oil plan?

I was also disappointed with their lack of addressing the issue I raised about helping consumer choice with a charter mark or symbol.

On the whole better than nothing and much better than cadbury's but what do you think?

My next step is a follow up letter and one to my local MP. Watch this space.