We don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but palm oil, it’s in everything. It’s in cooking oil, cereals, shampoo, soaps and – sweet tooths take note – it’s in chocolate.
To create palm oil, palm fruits on trees are harvested and processed into edible oils used for cooking and processed for foods and products. You may have heard about the environmental impact from expanding palm oil plantations but do you know about the appalling working conditions of many workers who harvest palm oil – including children?
Last year, Amnesty uncovered severe exploitation of labour rights on palm oil plantations owned by Wilmar International, which sells to many household brands including Nestlé. Wilmar controls more than 43 per cent of the global palm oil trade and the company’s revenue in 2015 was close to US$40 billion.
It’s just not good enough for major corporations to put profit before human rights, and you can help bring Wilmar into line. Make sure you pick the good choccies over the bad and show your support for human rights at the checkout too.
The good ‘uns
You can literally taste the happiness of supply-chain fairness in every square of this Adelaide-based chocolate. Their products are palm-oil free and in 2014 Haigh’s became the first Australian-owned chocolate manufacturer to achieve international UTZ certification for the use of ethically and sustainably farmed cocoa beans. Haigh’s operate retail stores throughout Australia.
“There is nothing sustainable about palm oil that is produced using child labour and forced labour.”https://t.co/LQ3oC6C81u
— Kohl S. Gill (@kohlgill) January 2, 2017
Alter Eco Pacific
Say yes to organic, fair trade and carbon neutral (surely that makes them better for our waistlines too, right?!), and to flavours like salted burnt caramel and mint truffle. Available at Oxfam stores, select health food stores and some Coles shops – check out this handy store locator for your nearest.
Also a great pick. Be mindful though that only some of their chocolates are certified fair trade, so check the labelling on each product first. Get your fix at the Chocolatier Shop in Ivanhoe Victoria, David Jones and selected fine food supermarkets around the country.
The bad ‘uns
Nestlé is one of those mega-company beasts that owns thousands of brands/pretty much most of the world. With such power and profit, it’s disappointing that Nestlé often fails to do even the most basic checks on the human rights standards of the palm oil they use in their chocolate (and other products).
According to its website, Nestlé is committed to using 100 per cent responsibly-sourced palm oil by 2020.
Magnum is owned by Unilever, another monster of a global corporation turning a blind eye to exploitation of workers in their supply chain – and like Nestlé they also source their palm oil from Wilmar plantations.
Corporate giants like Unilever assure consumers that their products use ‘sustainable palm oil’, but there is nothing sustainable about palm oil that is produced using child labour and forced labour.