Greenpeace Takes On P&G, ‘Thank You, Mom’

By Erik Oster 

Greenpeace released what they’re calling a “parody video of Procter & Gamble’s ‘Thank You Mom’ advertisement showing how P&G’s supply chain is contributing to the orphaning of orangutans.” The video (which I really don’t think qualifies as a “parody”) uses that commercial to point out the hypocrisy in P&G’s maintenance of a wholesome image while the company continues a dubious environmental record. Greenpeace’s video ends with the message: “Destroying forests for palm oil plantations means some of us no longer have a mom. Thank you, P&G.” (before directing viewers to their campaign site).

Specifically, Greenpeace is maintaining that Procter & Gamble — like Unilever, whom the organization targeted back in 2007 and who just happened to team up with P&G in a European washing powder price-fixing scheme in 2011 — is obtaining its palm oil from sources contributing to vast deforestation in Indonesia. The company’s palm oil sourcing practices, Greenpeace says they found in a yearlong report, are not only orphaning orangutans but also contributing to the extinction of the Sumatran tiger.

Greenpeace also organized a protest at Procter & Gamble’s downtown Cincinnati headquarters yesterday, where nine activists somehow got into the building, “rappelled down the 17-story twin towers of the…headquarters…and unfurled two enormous banners to protest deforestation linked to palm oil,” reports the Cincinnati Business Courier. The banners — which read (each accompanied by a Head and Shoulders logo) “Stop Putting Tiger Survival on the Line” and “Wipes Out Dandruff and Rainforests” — were “strung on wires between the two towers by the climbers, one of whom was wearing a tiger costume.” (You can view images from the protest here.)

Greenpeace is hoping the protest, along with the video and campaign site, will cause Procter & Gamble to reevaluate their palm oil sourcing methods. “While Procter & Gamble were advertising about motherhood, companies that produce palm oil for P&G have been making orphans out of orangutans. Together, we can get P&G to commit to only using forest-friendly palm oil,” said Greenpeace’s Areeba Hamid.

“We have already begun a full investigation of all claims made in the report,” P&G spokeswoman Lisa Popyk said, adding, “…we have committed to 100 percent sustainable sourcing of palm oil by 2015. We are working with our suppliers to ensure we deliver this commitment.”