The second ingredient listed in Nutella is rainforest-destroying, orangutan-killing palm oil! The second freaking one! The company that makes it, Ferrero, is supposedly part of the RSPO, which we know is a toothless greenwashing vehicle for greedy corporations (for the most part). Here’s Ferrero’s response from their website to the palm oil issue :
As a member of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil, Ferrero only uses palm oil which is extracted from controlled plantations in Malaysia.
That’s it!? What if a controlled plantation was developed by first chopping down HCV rainforest, murdering orangutans, displacing humans and increasing global warming? Oh, well that’s not answered by “controlled plantations” now is it?
Well this is not enough. A lawmaker is being slammed in France for what he’s devised: a 400% tax on palm oil in Nutella, which is virtually the symbol of French chocolate guilty pleasure!
There’s this from the Malaysian palm oil lobby:
“The proposal is based on inaccurate claims that palm oil is bad for health and nutrition, and that Malaysia does not respect the environment,” the council said in a statement received here.
Oh really? You mean Malaysia DOES respect the environment? There’s plenty of dead orangutans, clear-cut forests, corrupt government officials, and drained peat swamps to attest to the contrary.
UPDATE: Well, the palm oil lobby — and France’s uniquely weird gastronomic obsession to embrace this ridiculously fatty, palm oil-drenched product — led to the French Senate voting this tax measure down. But, hopefully, the publicity that this proposed tax brought on the palm oil controversy paid off infinitely.
Again, palm oil was NEVER in the original Nutella recipes. So why cling to this dirty, dangerous vegetable oil now in its recipe? Because it’s cheap — cheap because seemingly all of Indonesia and Malaysia is being deforested to plant it.
Nutella gets a C grade for its shoddy sustainability practices. Go here:
UPDATE: I want to give credit where it’s due. Nutella is trying, apparently. Here’s this from Ferrero’s website.
PALM OIL: Ferrero uses palm oil in Nutella for texture and taste purposes.
It is important to understand that Ferrero sources its Palm oil from Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, not from Indonesia where extensive deforestation is taking place.
Since 2005, Ferrero is also a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil organisation (RSPO) (www.rspo.org) and our commitment is to source 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2014. (Emphasis mine.)
Detailed information can be found in the Social Responsibility section of our website located at:
Although 2014 couldn’t come fast enough for the critically endangered species, there is a sustainable palm oil industry in Papua New Guinea NOW. Let’s just hope that Ferrero’s getting most of their palm oil from there until they can source 100% certified sustainable palm oil from elsewhere.
And RSPO membership/certification can’t be entirely trusted either. In fact, many companies just use their RSPO membership to greenwash their environmental destructiveness. Here’s this from Rainforest Action Network:
But the sad truth is, many of the companies that use these[RSPO] labels are in fact still causing rainforest destruction and the clearance and draining of carbon-rich peatlands that release massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
So let’s not be too easy on Nutella/Ferraro just yet. Let them prove that they’re buying sustainable palm oil now, and not just claiming empty promises.
UPDATED: 6/14/2013: What’s with depending on the kindness of Malaysia in thinking that just because it’s grown there that no rainforests are being chopped down for palm oil? Maybe it’s not as bad as in Sumatra or Kalimantan (Indonesia), but Malaysian Borneo has its share of rainforest-destroying, orangutan-killing baggage too. I just watched the first part of a rather dubious series running now on Fox Business Channel called, “Palm Oil, Nature’s Blessing or Nature’s Curse.” It was a serious greenwashing of Malaysia’s palm oil business. Only Malaysian stakeholders were interviewed, like the local Forestry official, the palm oil lobbyist, a business owner, etc. In the first episode shown last Saturday, I did not see one NGO official interviewed. Find show times here: http://www.locatetv.com/tv/palm-oil-natures-blessing-or-natures-curse/8110164
One palm oil goon even cast suspicions on the apparently repeated use of the number “300” in regard to: 1) the number of football field-sized swaths of rainforest that are allegedly cleared each day for palm oil plantations in Malaysia; and 2) the number of orangutans killed in Malaysia in the past year (or something). His reasoning? This use of “3oo” coincided far too much with the “300” Spartans that held off the invading Persians during the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, as featured in the CGI boxoffice blockbuster “300.” I mean seriously? That’s all you got?
UPDATED 11/21/2013: Here’s an article about how Ferraro and Nestle has gone further than other confectioners. That’s good news. If only the others would follow before it’s too late.
- FRANCE: French lawmakers to debate ‘Nutella tax’ (sfluxe.com)
- Lawmakers can tax alcohol, tobacco, even gasoline, but keep your dirty, grubby hands off my Nutella [Amusing] (fark.com)
- France’s ‘Nutella amendment’ causes big fat international row (guardian.co.uk)
- Big job ahead for sustainable palm oil group (eco-business.com)