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Is child labour lurking in your breakfast cereal?

    Tuesday, April 3, 2018 - 16:01

    We all want to be good, responsible people, don't we? But sometimes doing the right thing in our daily lives is made next-to-impossible by forces well beyond us. At these times, we need to work together, creatively, to do what's right. 

    Amnesty International's palm oil campaign gives you a chance to help fix a serious problem hidden in your breakfast cereal and possibly in the toothpaste you used this morning. Palm oil and palm oil ingredients are now in half of all consumer products, yet the harvesting of this product is leading to the exploitation of children, and human rights abuses of women and workers. 

    We have a plan to stop these abuses, and it starts with your signature.

    Amnesty International's  report - The Great Palm Oil Scandal: Labour Abuses Behind Big Name Brands - documents pervasive human rights abuses in the production of palm oil, and urges human rights supporters around the world to sign our petition calling for change.  

    Why will your signature on this petition be effective? 

    One single company  - that almost no one has heard of (Wilmar Group) - controls over 43% of the global palm oil trade. But it sells to ‘household name’ companies, such as Nestlé, Unilever, Colgate, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble. These companies care about their reputation.

    The petitions we collect from Amnesty International supporters around the world will put pressure on the companies to clean up their supply chains and ensure that their supplier, Wilmar, takes action to end labour abuses on its plantations and those of it suppliers. We are asking each company what specific steps they will take to leverage their enormous influence as purchasers of Palm Oil to persuade Wilmar to change its ways.  Their commitment to push for change will determine our next steps: which company we pursue in a big, public campaign.

    Watch the video

    Already our report has led to positive change.

    The disturbing facts revealed in our report and video, have led us to discussions with Wilmar. As a result, conditions for women workers have improved, minimum wage is now guaranteed to be paid to harvesters, and workers are being given better equipment to protect them from dangerous chemicals used in the harvesting of palm oil.

    That's a start, but other human rights abuses still persist on Wilmar’s palm oil plantations. It's clear to us that we will need additional pressure from the purchasers to address more deeply rooted problems with palm oil harvesting, including:

    •  serious labour abuses and lack of attention to human rights standards

    •  forced labour on Wilmar’s plantations and on its suppliers’ plantations

    •  endemic gender discrimination

    •  compensation or remediation for past harms suffered by workers.

    If we don’t see change, we will use all the forces we can muster as a global human rights organization to protect children from being exploited and ensure that companies responsible for putting palm oil into your morning routine are working to end further human rights abuses.

    This won’t be easy but we can do it!

    Thanks for your help,

    Fiona

    P.S. We know our reports can be heavy reading. If you're short on time but want to get a grasp on how serious a problem palm oil harvesting has been for plantation workers in Indonesia, please watch our Palm Oil video

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