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The hidden cost in your Oreo you didn’t know about

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A NEW report has linked Mondelēz International, the food giant behind such iconic snacks as Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers, to large-scale deforestation in Indonesia.

The investigation by Greenpeace International found that between 2015 and 2017, 22 of Mondelēz’s palm oil suppliers cleared more than 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) of rainforest — an area larger than the city of San Francisco. Of that area, 250 square kilometers (96 square miles) constituted the habitat of critically endangered orangutans.

Mondelēz continues to source from deforesters, the report says, despite the US food giant’s series of commitments and policies to sourcing sustainable palm oil, a commodity found in items ranging from ice cream and laundry detergent to cosmetics and biofuels.

“Palm oil can be made without destroying forests, yet our investigation discovered that Mondelēz suppliers are still trashing forests and wrecking orangutan habitat, pushing these beautiful and intelligent creatures to the brink of extinction,” said Kiki Taufik, the head of Greenpeace Indonesia’s forests campaign.

“They’re literally dying for a cookie.”

SEE ALSO: Will Vietnam really adhere to its clean timber deal with Europe?

The report also noted that the scale of deforestation linked to Mondelēz, whose brand portfolio also includes Cadbury’s and Toblerone, might be greater than what Greenpeace had unearthed.

“Alarmingly, these are just the cases that Greenpeace was able to identify — Mondelēz sources from hundreds of palm oil companies and this destruction is likely just the tip of the iceberg,” the report said.

Kiki said the findings were “outrageous” in light of Mondelēz’s publicly stated sustainability commitments.

In 2010, the company along with other members of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) acknowledged the global climate impact of deforestation and agreed to work toward zero deforestation by 2020.

Then in 2014, Mondelēz adopted a “no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation” (NDPE) policy, restricting the company to sourcing palm oil “produced on legally held land, [that] does not lead to deforestation or loss of peatland, respects human rights, including land........

© Asian Correspondent