Wildlife

Petitioning Starbucks: Stop selling baked goods containing palm oil!

Photo courtesy of Caroline Braker

Save Wildlife—Pass on Starbucks Pastries

This month, Izilwane–Voices for Biodiversity is teaming up with primatologist Paula Pebsworth in her campaign against Americans’ hunger for environmentally destructive palm oil. She has received a good deal of support in her work, but one notable hold out: Starbucks, a company known (perhaps surprisingly) for it social activism.

Over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil production in the last two decades. The majority of palm oil production – 80 percent – occurs in Indonesia and Malaysia, where roughly 50 percent of the original forest cover has been replaced with palm oil plantations, leading to the quickest declines in biodiversity anywhere on the globe. Every hour, an area the size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared for the production of oil palms, often in the form of monocropping. Some producers have made significant efforts to move toward sustainable farms, and some companies have switched to sustainable sources; however, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) says consumers are purchasing only half of the sustainably-produced palm oil being manufactured. With this obvious surplus in goods, why is Starbucks continuing to use an unsustainable source in its baked goods, contributing to loss of orangutan and elephant habitat?

As consumers and lovers of coffee, one thing we can do is say “No Thank You” to Starbucks. If you love orangutans and elephants more than pastries, then pass on the pastries until Starbucks changes their recipes to exclude palm oil or at the very least uses a sustainable source. Decimation of the rainforest is catastrophic for local and indigenous peoples, animals, plants, and, in particular, orangutans and elephants. If you want your voice to be heard, please consider signing this petition asking the coffee giant to make the right choice.

An example of the letter to Starbucks’ CEO (which is customizable for those of you who would like to make a more personal note) is as follows:
To:
Howard Schultz, Starbucks, CEO
Vivek Varma, Executive VP, Public Relations
Stop selling baked goods containing palm oil! Starbuck’s website states 4 commitments ” 1) helping communities thrive 2) minimizing your environmental footprint 3) offering the highest-quality, ethically purchased and produced products 4) being a good corporate citizen.” By selling products containing palm oil, you’re violating all 4 of these commitments and are not being a responsible company. You can do better – ditch the palm oil or at least start using a sustainable source, which we know is available!

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Please visit our petition page at Change.org to sign today!

Voices for Biodiversity (V4B) is an online conservation media magazine that shares the stories of people from around the globe in order to help all species survive and thrive together. The e-zine is a gathering place for those who believe that humanity’s health and well-being depend upon the health and well-being of other species and the ecosystems that support us all. Voices for Biodiversity shares the stories of eco-reporters from around the world, using the ancient human art of storytelling to connect people with each other, other species, and the natural world. The magazine’s goal is to alter human behavior in such a way as to connect the human animal with the global ecosystem in order to stem biodiversity loss and arrest the sixth extinction of species taking place in this time, the Age of the Anthropocene.
  • S. Pony

    Didn’t Starbucks and all their buddies drive the Javan Tiger into extinction by turning their entire habitat (Java) into a coffee plantation? People need to wake up and smell the palm oil before all of Indonesia is a palm plantation. The last thing us 1st worldians needs is giant supply of fatty cooking oil. Hoping people pressure big companies faster before all of the Indonesian rain forest is burned down, logged, and turned into a palm plantation that is uninhabitable by the native species.

  • Sean

    Starbucks stop using palm oil. There has to be a better way

  • Jody

    Stop selling products that contain palm oil. Do something good and help sent an example

  • Kathy Osborn

    Stop this madness!

  • carry bent

    stop selling goods with Palm oil in

  • ALISON BARTLE

    It is our duty to protect all animals on our planet before we lose them all. They have every right to life and it is an absolute disgrace that in this case animals are dying because corporations are stealing their habitat for a product they wish to sell. Many of these animals are murdered because they ‘get in the way’ of business. This is outrageous. No man has the right to decide the fate of any animal on our planet. I refuse to buy anything with palm oil in it. I hope the world follows suit. Leave these animals to live peacefully in their own environment

  • Frank conlin

    No excuse for palm oil, it has devastating impacts.

  • Michelle Wood

    Please! We must save the Orangutan before it is too late, why do we STILL have to sign petitions against the growing of Palms in prime Orang locations?, this is not just tragic – it is obscene.

  • Patricia Lara

    For the sake of ALL living creatures in this our Mother Earth, you Starbucks MUST stop using PALM OIL !!!! Think of the next generations!!! Is this the legacy you want for them? STOP USING PALM OIL !!!!!!!!!

  • Gabriele Hernicke

    Stop selling baked goods containing palm oil! Starbuck’s website states 4 commitments ” 1) helping communities thrive 2) minimizing your environmental footprint 3) offering the highest-quality, ethically purchased and produced products 4) being a good corporate citizen.” By selling products containing palm oil, you’re violating all 4 of these commitments and are not being a responsible company. You can do better – ditch the palm oil or at least start using a sustainable source, which we know is available!

    Sincerely,
    Gaby Hernicke

  • Liz Grady

    So glad we are highlighting this very important issue – thank you!!

  • christine makin

    Change your policies or we BOYCOTT!!

  • Sarah Tyndall

    End the use of palm oil! Save the orangutan! Save the Rain forests!

  • Palm Oil Truth Foundation

    It is important to introduce a bit of context amid this knee-jerk media fueled outrage against an innocent commodity that is the victim of a cleverly planned trade protectionist action.

    First, the numbers fetishism of the Petitioners and others of their ilk is suspect. It was Italian civil libertarian group, Libertiamo who exposed the predilection of these NGOs to make spectacular claims! Libertiamo observed that one of the most commonly used is a statistic that in SE Asia alone, the equivalent of 300 football fields are deforested every hour for palm oil plantations, a claim that has been exposed as a significant distortion of facts by the FAO’s recent “State of the Forests 2011” report which observed that whilst rates of deforestation between 1990-2000 were high at a time of significant development in SE Asia, the trend had reversed dramatically between 2000-2010. Deforestation rates during this latter period “more than halved, making the NGO claims of rampant expansion entirely false!” – See more at: http://www.deforestationwatch.org/index.php?m=articles&id=36#sthash.y5kIB8Kc.dpuf

    Secondly, the issue of deforestation too flies in the face of facts for Malaysia, despite planting palm oil for more than a hundred years has still managed to retain 59.5 percent forest cover, certainly far better than New Zealand’s 31.87 percent or the UK’s 11.7%! (CIA World FactBook 2011), certainly not the apocalyptic picture of massive deforestation that these EC surrogates and apologists attempt to paint.

    Thirdly, the allegation that over “50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil production in the last two decades,” is facetious. It reminds us of the wild claim of the Rainforest Action Network that had to sheepishly remove from their website their wild allegation that palm oil cultivation would lead to the extinction of the orang utan by 2011. Well 2011 was dawning and the orang utan population in the wild had grown instead of going extinct when new tribes of more than 2000 wild apes were found in the East Kalimantan province of Indonesia, as reported by this self-same National Geographic (see: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090413-new-orangutans.html) With roughly 50,000 orangutans thought to remain in the wild, the new find could add 5 percent to the world’s known orangutan numbers, said Erik Meijaard, senior ecologist for the Nature Conservancy in Indonesia in 2009.

    It is well known that palm oil is grown on only 0.23% of the world’s agricultural land and yet is the world’s leading supplier of edible oil, supplying an incredible 30% of the world’s edible oil. This fact alone should alert any objective observer that something does not jive with all the palm oil and deforestation hype.

    With due respect, rather than rally people to their cause, their predilection for fact bending should set off most bullshit meters!

  • Robert Hii

    Hello POTF! I see you’re still out here trying to sell your notions of worldwide schemes against palm oil. For the sake of the readers here and just so I don’t get accused of being a spokesman for the soy industry, lets see the facts in relation to your arguments.I use WWF and IUCN as sources as I am sure these organisations are not part of that scheme you refer to.

    1. Severe drop in orangutan populations in Malaysia and Indonesia.

    -http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/great_apes/orangutans/sumatran_orangutan/

    “The total population has significantly declined over the past few decades. For example, from 1992-2000, the population is considered to have declined by more than 50%.”

    -http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/great_apes/orangutans/
    “Both orangutan species have experienced sharp population declines over the past few decades. ”

    -http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/17975/0
    “The rapid expansion of oil palm plantations in Borneo in response to international demand (the oil is used for cooking, cosmetics, mechanics, and more recently as source of bio-diesel) has accelerated habitat losses. Between 1984 and 2003, the area planted with palm oil on Borneo increased from 2,000 km² to 27,000 km²: about 10,000 km² is located in Kalimantan; 12,000 km² in Sabah and 5,000 km² in Sarawak. Many areas used to be prime habitat for the orangutans: eastern lowlands of Sabah, the plains between the Sampit and Seruyan rivers in central Kalimantan, etc.”

    2. As for your claims of 59.5% forest coverage in Malaysia, let’s hear you explain what the eyes in the skies, the satellites tell us. 80% of Malaysian Borneo’s forests gone when your reports constantly boast of having that grand 59.5% forest canopy. Granted that this article speaks of the loss of forests due to logging and the roads needed for heavy equipment but please explain to the readers how it is that palm oil plantations pop up conveniently right after these ancient forests are logged over. Reasons like not wanting to waste degraded forests is not acceptable.
    http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0717-borneo-rainforest-logging.html?fbfnpg

    As for RAN’s “outrageous claims” its very possible that due to pressure they put on industry, they somehow got the palm oil industry to put its brakes on before the orangutan truly became extinct in 2011.

    Your predilection for fact bending has indeed set off many bullshit meters. I do not refute the fact that palm oil,if cultivated sustainably can be the source of vege-oils for all 7 billion of us. However, most of what we eat and what we slap on our skins is anything but sustainably produced. If you want to come to market wearing the sustainable label, walk the talk first.

  • OrangAware

    Makes you wonder why an industry has to have a “truth” squadron of highly paid PR people and lobbyists. Kind of reminds me of big oil and tobacco companies.
    Who do you believe??

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media