A new Amnesty International report reveals that nine major brands—Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Elevance, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Archer Daniels Midland, Reckitt Benckiser, and AFAMSA—use palm oil sourced from Indonesian plantations rife with worker exploitation and child labor. The plantations in question are run by the Singapore-based agribusiness organization Wilmar.
Some of the working conditions uncovered by Amnesty are:
• Women earning below minimum wage, sometimes as little as $2.50 an hour
• Children as young as eight doing dangerous physical work, dropping out of school to work
• Workers sustaining injuries from the toxic chemical paraquat, which is supposedly prohibited by Wilmar
“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,” Amnesty senior investigator Meghna Abraham said in a statement. “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.”
Pepsi, too, has come under fire for sourcing palm oil from plantations in Indonesia owned by food manufacturing giant Indofood.