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Secrets?Dirty secrets? Skeletons in our closets? We all have them! They may not be as big or as small as those of other people but everyone has a secret that they wouldn’t want anyone to know. You know who else has big secrets? Big companies and corporations! Expanding into forests to ensure that their coffers do not become light. ‘Got a secret? Can you keep it? Swear this one you’ll save! Better lock it in your pocket.’ I have heard this before, have you? The dirty secrets of one of the companies that produce and use palm oil shall be revealed today.

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JAKARTA — The makers of Oreo cookies and KitKat chocolate bars are among the companies getting some of their palm oil from producers linked to the fires that have razed large swaths of land in Indonesia, a new report says.

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The fires, started mostly to clear land for planting,  burned 8,578 square kilometers (3,304 square miles) by the end of September — an area the size of Puerto Rico. Many of the companies on whose concessions occurred are affiliated with groups that supply palm oil to companies like Mondelēz, Nestlé, Unilever and Procter & Gamble (P&G), according to the report that was published published Nov. 4 by Greenpeace.

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Many of the companies involved across the supply chain have made sustainability pledges that commit them to not sourcing palm oil from growers linked to deforestation and/or burning. The new findings show they’ve clearly fallen short, said Annisa Rahmawati, a Greenpeace Indonesia senior forest campaigner.

“Companies have created a facade of sustainability,” she said. “But the reality is that they source from the very worst offenders across the board. The companies responsible for the fires and those who financially benefit from them should be held accountable for these environmental atrocities and the devastating health impacts caused by the fires.”

Oreos! Magnificent… they taste wonderful don’t they? The self proclaimed wonder-filled cookies. The makers of oreos; Mondelez,which according to Greenpeace still buys palm oil from the world’s dirtiest and largest palm oil trader: Wilmar. And by dirty I do not mean filth, I mean impunity is the term that I shall actually use. Wilmar? How does it get its palm oil? Well, I’ll say… Its palm oil is associated to several of the suppliers linked to forest destruction and human right abuses in Indonesia. Forest destruction? Human abuse all for the love of money?

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The future of our world, the future of our forests is unforeseeable, where are we headed if we do not stand up to this bullies destroying our forests and abusing our human rights. The high oil yield of the trees has encouraged wider cultivation, leading to the clearing of forests in parts of Indonesia to make space for oil-palm monoculture. This has resulted in significant acreage losses of the natural habitat of the three surviving species of orangutan. One species in particular, the Sumatran orangutan, has been listed as critically endangered.

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It is in your cookies, your chocolate, shampoo, pizza base, instant noodles, ice cream, vegan cheese, margarine, crisps, your bread and even your soap! Well who would have thought! What can you do as a consumer? The answer is simple in my opinion! Boycott products made using palm oil. If we stop using it, they will stop making it! Before you buy any products check whether they contain palm oil!

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Barbara Michoma,

The Traveling Mindset.

Published by Barbara Michoma

I am a tour operator in Kenya. I have a degree in Tourism Management and I have my own company known as The Traveling mindset Limited which is centered on giving people a chance to experience the world in a sustainable way. I am extremely passionate about climate change, human rights, sustainable tourism, accessible tourism and meeting new people and giving them unforgettable experiences. For fun I play hockey and read all kinds of books. I have two dogs and I love animals very much. My all time hobby though, is writing and sharing my thoughts with the world.

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