Nestle, the world’s largest food processor, was embroiled in a messy palm oil slick when it tried to remove a Greenpeace ad featuring an office worker eating orangutan fingers from YouTube. In the event of this ad campaign that brought to light the plunder of the rain forests and environmentally-damaging practices of Nestle, the multinational company has accepted the fact that they have been using palm oil from the destroyed rainforest, home of the last surviving orangutans.
Forests and peatlands are being ruthlessly cleared to cultivate oil palms and Nestle is using over 320,000 tons of palm every year sourced mainly from the controversial Sinar Mas group, Indonesia’s largest producer of palm oil, which burn and plunder the rainforests. Most of the popular products of Nestle including Nestlé Crunch, CoffeeMate, and PowerBar use palmoil and this incident has set off a debate over Nestle’s environmental credentials.
We’ll continue to put the video up on other websites until Nestlé removes all rainforest destroying palm oil from its supply chain.”” Greenpeace Head of Campaigns, Steve Campbell, said.
To reduce the pressure on the tropical forests, a group of stakeholders, including NGOs, producers and retailers, formed the Round table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) way back in 2004, which promoted ways and means to make palm oil production less damaging to the environment. However, these drives were battered by a series of scandals, including the recent Nestle debacle. Though several major companies, including Unilever, the world’s largest buyer of palm oil and Kraft are promoting this sustainable cause , Nestle has always remained adamant .
This scandal has put a serious blotch on the reputation of Nestle, which is yet to come clear of the milk powder scandal in Africa. It seems that the powder milk scandal has not taught them anything!
We at reputation management for.com suggest what they should have done? To come out of this tight spot, Nestlé should develop a social networking crisis plan to track and respond to attacks against its brand. This doesn’t mean that Nestle will have to literally surrender to the cause but they can build a relationship and send out positive message about their social concern to the consumers and the proposed plan of action to clear the controversy, and to remain in the race!