Employers here in Silicon Valley, even the smaller ones like mine, are really trying to go all out for employee perks, especially of the gastronomic variety. I opened up a cupboard in our communal kitchen and found oodles and oodles of noodle bowls there. Because I can’t help myself, I looked for palm oil. Of course I found it easily, since it’s so prominently used in this noodle space, and fired off a palm oil “death and destruction” email to Nongshim.
Here’s their response:
We appreciate your concern concerning the use of palm oil in our products and its impact on the environment.
First of all, we would like to assure that we share your concerns concerning the negative effects on the environment of the use of palm oil and that we take this issue seriously.
We used to use beef tallow. But after using palm oil, we are passionate and committed to making sure that Nongshim implements a sustainable management and carry out environment-friendly economic activities. In this regard, we are deeply sympathetic to the concerns over the environmental issues involving the use of palm oil and we are willing to keep an eye on such issue.
We will make efforts to ensure that the palm oil we source is traceable to the supplier mills with a view to developing effective long-term solutions to the complicated issue of palm oil sustainability. For instance, we will reinforce cooperation with our suppliers who take this issue seriously and are prepared to improve this issue.
We understand that you consider our environmental efforts to be insufficient, but we would like to assure that we share your concern and that we are making every effort to find a resolution to this issue.
Again, this is an issue that is very important to us, and we will not stop our ongoing efforts to be environmentally conscious and we will strive to be more environmentally friendly and responsible. We appreciate your valuable point.
Customer service team, Nongshim co.,Ltd
Not sure if that’s good enough for me, though. There’s a lot of hedging, hemming and hawing, and low-bar efforts (“with a view toward developing,” “making every effort to find a resolution to this issue,” etc. But at least they don’t hide behind that “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that is the industry greenwashing vehicle, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). (And, man, has the World Wildlife Fund, who supposedly helped start the RSPO, become a real disappointment to environmentalists everywhere.)
Even though I’m not the one buying these products at work, I guess employees could create the demand for our employer to need to buy more.
So no thanks, I’ll boycott. Even when it’s free.