Ed. Note: Also read Orangutans Pay a High Price for Palm Oil in Indonesia.]
The new policy commits Nestlé to identify and exclude companies from its supply chain that own or manage 'high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation'.
A big 'Thank You!' to the hundreds of thousands of you who supported our two-month Kit Kat campaign by e-mailing Nestlé, calling them, or spreading the campaign message via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles. This morning, Nestlé finally announced a break for the orang-utan - as well as Indonesian rainforests and peatlands - by committing to stop using products that come from rainforest destruction.
The new policy commits Nestlé to identify and exclude companies from its supply chain that own or manage 'high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation'. This would apply to notorious Sinar Mas, a palm oil and paper supplier that Greenpeace has repeatedly caught destroying the rainforest - if it fails to meet Nestlé's new criteria - and also have implications for Cargill, one of Nestlé's palm oil suppliers which purchases from Sinar Mas.
Nestlé's announcement sends a strong message to the palm oil and paper industry that rainforest destruction is not an acceptable practice in today's global marketplace - and it wouldn't have happened without you. From the very beginning, the strength of our Kit Kat campaign has been the truly amazing support from the public - online and offline - both concerned consumers and social media-savvy activists alike.
The support from the online community has been clear since day one when our 'Have a break?' video's removal from YouTube sparked online calls of censorship, several spin-off uploads to YouTube, and drove hundreds of thousands of views on the video within hours of it being re-uploaded to Vimeo - the total number of views on all versions of the video is now over 1.5 million!
Facebook was another key online arena for the Kit Kat campaign, where a steady stream of pressure was applied to Nestlé via comments you left on its Facebook Fan page. While many of you also 'wore your support on your sleeve' Facebook-style by changing your profile pictures to images of orang-utans, rainforest, and our campaign Kit Kat 'killer' logo.
The power of social media combined dramatically with our direct actions to deliver the message directly to Nestlé at events like its Annual General Meeting on April 15th. Outside the meeting venue, shareholders were greeted by protesting orang-utans as they arrived, while inside our activists hid in the ceiling in order to drop down over shareholders heads just as the meeting began to deploy banners asking Nestlé to give orang-utans a break. Online our supporters were sending tweets to shareholders throughout the meeting via a fake Wi-Fi network we had set up, which sent shareholders directly to greenpeace.org/kitkat when they connected.
Online and offline the message to Nestlé has been strong and relentless over the past two months - give rainforests and orang-utans a break. All of it - from protesting orang-utans on the streets to Facebook status updates - has brought us to today's commitment. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped us get here - now go on and announce it to the world. Please boast about your involvement in the success of our Kit Kat campaign on Facebook and Twitter - or any of your other social network profiles - you deserve it!
Our goal remains the complete protection of Indonesia's rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands. We will be watching Nestlé closely to make sure it sticks to its word and puts them into action fast. We will also continue to investigate and expose unscrupulous palm oil and paper companies that destroy rainforests and to pressure the Indonesian government to act. In the meantime, today's new Nestlé 'no deforestation footprint' policy is something to celebrate. We hope it will inspire action by other international companies - like Carrefour and Wal-mart - to hear our message that there is no room for forest destruction in the products we buy.