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Conscious Consumer: Household Names Profiting From Child Labor

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“Corporate giants like Colgate, Nestlé and Unilever assure consumers that their products use ‘sustainable palm oil’, but our findings reveal that the palm oil is anything but.”
~Meghna Abraham, Senior Investigator at Amnesty International.

According to sources, palm oil plantations are devastating the rainforests across Indonesia and Malaysia destroying the natural habitat of countless different species including elephants and tigers. Palm oil is used in anything from shampoo to chocolate. Read more here.

According to the recent report, The great palm oil scandal, by Amnesty International, some of the world’s most powerful companies in the food and household industry are selling products tainted by a wide range of human rights abuses in palm oil plantations in Indonesia including:

  • Children as young as eight working in hazardous conditions.
  • Women forced to work long hours under the threat of having their pay cut – earning as little as US$2.50 a day.
  • Workers suffering severe injuries from paraquat, an acutely toxic chemical banned in the EU and by the company they work for.

“Something is wrong when nine companies turning over a combined revenue of $325 billion in 2015 are unable to do something about the atrocious treatment of palm oil workers earning a pittance.”
~Meghna Abraham, Senior Investigator at Amnesty International.

The report investigates conditions in plantations run by the world’s biggest palm oil grower, Singapore-based agri-business Wilmar. The product can be traced to 9 well-known corporations: Colgate-Palmolive, Elevance, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, AFAMSA and ADM.

This video by Amnesty International sheds light on the working practices on some of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations with firsthand accounts of life at the plantations.

Palm oil is used for much more that just food products. If you are wondering which brands are owned by the corporations investigated in the report, here is a tiny selection: 

Nestlé: CheeriosHot PocketsNescafé, NespressoNesquick chocolate milk, Lion chocolate bar, Quality Street chocolate, Friskies dog food.

Unilever: Ben & Jerry´s ice cream, Dove chocolate, I can’t believe it’s not butter, Colman’s mustard, Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

Procter & Gamble: Crest toothpaste, Covergirl cosmetics, Head & Shoulders shampoo, Mr. CleanOlay skin care, Pantene hair care.

Colgate-Palmolive: Colgate toothpaste, Ajax cleaning products, Palmolive shampoo.

Kellogg’s: Wide range of cereal products Froot Loops, Kellogg’s corn flakes and All-Bran.

Reckitt Benckiser: Strepsils, Vanish cleaning products, French’s mustard.

Your purchasing power has the ability to change the world. Choose wisely.

Featured image: Eco-Business.com

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends:
  Amnesty International – Palm Oil: Global brands profiting from child and forced labour

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