Lifesaver for ages 9 and up -- Protect human rights of palm oil workers!
A worker harvests palm fruits from trees in central Kalimantan in Indonesia. Photographer: Jason Houston
Are there human rights abuses in your grocery cart?
Ben & Jerry’s icecream
Kitkat chocolate bars
Those are just some of the Kellogg’s, Colgate, Nestlé, Unilever and Procter & Gamble products made with palm oil.
Where does that palm oil come from?
Amnesty International researchers discovered that these companies buy palm oil from plantations in Indonesia. The plantations are run by a company called Wilmar.
Wilmar could be a much better company than it is. Amnesty International knows that Wilmar makes people work without adequate safety equipment. This is so important when the workers have to breathe pollution caused by forest fires or have to spray the crops with dangerous chemicals.
Wilmar pays workers as little as $3.33 a day. Some have worked for years but still have no health insurance or even a guarantee of work in the future. If a worker sprays crops for six hours and then rain comes in and washes all the spray off, Wilmar will not pay them.
Parents sometimes have to bring their children to work alongside them in order to pick enough palm fruit each day. That means students miss school and fall behind. Besides, the work is very hard for children as young as eight.
Wilmar needs to make their operations safe for workers, pay them for work done, and treat them fairly.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Please write a letter to one or more of the companies listed below. Start with Dear Mr Cook / Dear Mr Schneider / Dear Mr Bryant.
You could write that you are sad to learn that some of his company’s products contain palm oil that is produced using child labour and
without full respect for workers’ basic rights.
You could ask the company to tell everyone where the palm oil for each of their products comes from.
But the most important thing is to ask the company to tell Wilmar to respect the rights of their workers. You could give them one example from the first part of this action.
WHERE DO I SEND MY MESSAGE?
Ian M. Cook, President and CEO
11-300 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022-7499, USA
Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé
Avenue Nestlé 55
1800 Vevey, Switzerland
John A. Bryant, President and CEO
Battle Creek, MI 49016-3599, USA
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
Conduct a scavenger hunt in your home. Read the labels on your food and discover which products contain palm oil. Name them in the letter you send to the company. If you wish, you could also send your list to the Amnesty International office. We would be interested to see what you find out. We may use your list to put more pressure on the companies to make sure workers are treated well.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
If you would like us to send future Lifesavers to your email address or mail box, send an email to email@example.com. Lifesavers are free and action is optional.