Two girls bring change to Kellogg
Cereals are delicious and nutritious foods that we can easily take even on a busy morning. There are various kinds such as cornflakes, oatmeal, and granola, and different consumers have their different favorite taste. In the situation that cereal foods are loved all over the world, the news that “two girls living in the UK have changed the management policy of Kellogg, a global company” is a hot topic.
They are sisters, Asha aged 12 and Jia aged 10, living in Leighton Buzzard. Although they ate Kellogg’s cereals every morning, they decided not to have them in the summer of 2018. The factor that made them think so was the TV program “Orangutan Jungle School,” which was a documentary program about a rehabilitation facility for orangutans located in Kalimantan Island, Central Indonesia. Through the program, the girls found that the expansion of oil palm plantations, the source of palm oil used for cereal foods, has destroyed the rainforest, the habitat for the orangutans.
Not only Kellogg but also food and daily necessities manufacturers around the world use Indonesian palm oil to produce their products. As many of you know, palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. It is highly versatile and is used not only in bread and potato chips but also in detergents, shampoos, and soaps. In addition, it is much more productive than other vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil, and the yield of oil per unit area is 8 to 10 times higher than those other oils.
It is always concerned that such useful palm oil will be overproduced, and at the same time, it is also treated as an environmental and human rights issue such as the disappearance of rainforests, child labor, and the exploitation of workers. Against this background, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was established in 2004. Companies that use palm oil are required to obtain the certification established by RSPO to prevent problems.
Of course, Kellogg, which has a strong influence on society, is also required to procure palm oil with this certification. However, with the research by International NGOs Greenpeace and Amnesty International, it was found that many companies, including Kellogg, still have relationships with plantations with labor issues. To improve the situation, the two girls started a campaign for collecting signatures online.
They sent a message to Kellogg through “Change.org”: “Stop destroying rainforests for cheap palm oil.” More than 540,000 people worldwide have signed, and the girls were invited by Kellogg to its UK office in the winter of 2018 to have a discussion with the chief executive. The company’s executives told them they would try to reveal the supply chain, that is, which plantations the palm oil are sourced from and who supplies them.
Thereafter, they set up time for discussions on several occasions, and in February 2020, the company told the sisters that it had decided to change its policy regarding procurement methods. Although 15% of suppliers from that the company procures the palm oil do not have RSPO certifications, it has committed to source the oil in 100% sustainable way by 2025. The company would also have a partnership with a reliable NGO to help restore rainforests in cooperation with small-scale farmers. The discussion will hold half a year later again, and it will be informed of the progress and which NGO has been assigned.
While they achieved some results, their campaign on Change.org is still ongoing. To keep Kellogg being in progress of its commitment, they have not closed the campaign and are still seeking supporters. If you want to support the girls, please visit the campaign page here.