Two determined Leighton Buzzard girls are taking on cereal giants Kellogg’s in a bid to stamp out its use of “rainforest-destroying” palm oil.
Asha Kirkpatrick, 11, and her sister Jia, eight, felt they could not crunch Cornflakes, Coco Pops, or any other Kellogg’s products after learning that humans’ demand for palm oil was causing orangutans to lose their habitat - and lives.
The ambitious girls started a petition this autumn which called on the company to stop using the oil in their ingredients, after an investigation by Greenpeace claimed that the Kellogg’s was buying oil from traders who cause deforestation in Indonesia.
The duo have now reached over half a million signatures and have even received a letter from Kellogg’s CEO, Oli Morton, offering the girls an opportunity to speak to him.
Their mother, Harvinder, said: “They started watching a programme about orphaned orangutans and it must have explained about palm oil.
“I said to them, ‘why don’t you write a letter?’, so they started a change.org petition.
“Getting the first five signatures was quite hard. But recently Asha said: ‘Guess how many we’ve got? 200,000!’
“The campaign about the Iceland advert had happened and it just boomed.
“They are not the sort of children that enjoy being the centre of attention, so to help, I said: ‘Think that you are the voice for the orangutans!’”
Harvinder also told the LBO that change.org said they were pleased that the petition targeted a big company like Kellogg’s; if the popular brand makes a change, it should encourage other companies to follow suit and either stop using the oil or acquire it from sustainable sources.
A Kellogg’s spokeswoman, said: “We admire the passion demonstrated by Asha and Jia, and agree that our rainforests are a precious resource.
“Although Kellogg uses a very small amount of palm oil globally, we have been working since 2009 to improve its sustainability.
“We continue to support the responsible sourcing of palm oil through our Global 2020 Sustainability Commitments and by purchasing palm oil certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
“We will continue to work through our supply chain - from suppliers to millers to growers - to ensure that the palm oil Kellogg uses is sourced from plantations that uphold the company’s commitment to protect forests and peat lands, as well as human and community rights.”