#NotInMyTrolley - About the issue
Palm oil is in just about everything. It’s in your ice cream, chips, soap, shampoo and more – roughly 50% of the stuff you’ll find on supermarket shelves! Many companies say that the palm oil they use is “sustainable”, which means it’s good to the environment and to workers. But Amnesty International’s research has shown that’s not actually the case. A lot of palm oil is produced through a system of abuse that includes child labour, forced labour, discrimination against women and exposure to toxic chemicals. It's why we're saying #NotInMyTrolley
The true price of palm oil
Because demand for palm oil is so high, it’s a profitable business. Those profits are often made at the expense of worker’s rights. Children as young as eight are doing hard, dangerous work and missing out on school. They have to help their parents meet demanding targets to make sure their families make enough money to survive. This means many work after school and on weekends. Some even drop out from school.
The work is exhausting. Some workers are made to cut heavy fruit – up to 25 kilograms – from 20-metre tall trees. Others have been exposed to toxic chemicals and not given proper safety gear. They have suffered spills onto their hands and backs, vomiting, stomach pain and nails falling off their fingers. Women are refused permanent work and are employed casually, without pensions or medical insurance. Workers are given ridiculously high targets and they’re often in serious physical pain trying to meet them. If they don’t, they face penalties, which are often financial.
Who’s selling human rights abuse?
Wilmar International is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil. It controls over 43% of the global trade. Amnesty International has uncovered labour rights abuses on the plantations operated by Wilmar in Indonesia. Despite many of these abuses being criminal offences under Indonesian and international law, the laws are badly enforced. Many household brands including ColgatePalmolive, Nestlé, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser and Procter & Gamble, buy their palm oil from Wilmar. These “Big 6” companies are quiet on the human rights abuses at Wilmar’s plantations, as is the Indonesian Government.