Social media backlash pushes Nestlé to evaluate palm oil policies

Well what do you know? Nestlé listened.  Following a two month Greenpeace assault on palm oil purchasing practices of the food giant, Nestlé announced earlier this week that they will stop purchasing palm oil (used in many popular products like Kit Kats) from companies that own “high-risk” plantations and farms.  These high-risk plantations are accused of driving the destruction of natural habitats for animals like the orangutan. The new “zero-deforestation” policy is in partnership with The Forest Trust that will work with Nestlé to amend its palm oil purchasing policies.

Nestlé’s decision comes after a tumultuous 8-weeks in which Greenpeace released a provocative video on YouTube to raise awareness of Nestlé’s questionable methods for acquiring palm oil.  The video, which likens eating a Kit Kat to eating an orangutan, was subsequently removed by Nestlé; an action that spurred an even greater backlash from the Greenpeace community who bombarded Nestlé with calls, emails and Facebook page comments. Now enter social media “meltdown” as Nestlé representatives responded to Facebook comments with mild requests for users to stop using altered versions of the Nestlé logo as their Facebook profile picture or risk their comments being taken down.  Needless to say, users were not happy with this restriction of their right to publicly protest on an open forum like a company’s Facebook page and the comment threads were shared on blogs and news articles across the Internet – directing even more negative attention toward Nestlé.

As a result of the targeted Greenpeace campaign and the added headache of a social media crisis, Nestlé was forced to pay attention and had to address the problems with the palm oil it buys. Hopefully, Nestlé’s new policies will help save some orangutans and make some of us feel better about eating Kit Kats.

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2 Comments

Filed under Social Media

2 responses to “Social media backlash pushes Nestlé to evaluate palm oil policies

  1. Alison

    Thanks for posting this Ellie. I brought it up at work today when we were talking about orangutan conservation. Thanks for the fodder!

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