Indonesia's Forests Are Disappearing At A Rate Of More Than Nine Olympic Swimming Pools Each Minute. Could Your Shampoo Be Fueling This Destruction?

tiger© Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Sadly, there is a connection between the survival of the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger and the brand of shampoo that you choose.

Procter & Gamble, the company that makes Head & Shoulders, is sourcing palm oil from companies connected to orangutan habitat clearance in Indonesia – making unwitting consumers part of a widespread forest destruction scandal in the process.

That's according to findings from a yearlong investigation by Greenpeace International, which also reveals that the company’s current sourcing policies also expose its supply chain to forest fires and habitat destruction that is pushing the Sumatran tiger to the edge of extinction.

Palm oil is a common ingredient in detergents, shampoos, cosmetics and other household goods that P&G manufactures.

“The maker of Head & Shoulders needs to stop bringing rainforest destruction into our showers,” said Bustar Maitar, head of the Indonesian forest campaign at Greenpeace International. “It must clean up its act and guarantee its consumers that these products are forest-friendly.”

The company should follow the lead of other palm oil-using companies like Unilever, Nestlé and L’Oréal, which have already promised to clean up their supply chains.

Greenpeace found that orangutan habitat was being cleared in plantations linked to P&G’s supply chain. Land used for palm oil cultivation owned by the BW Plantation Group – a company connected to P&G’s supply chain – also correlates with the deaths and burials of orangutans next to the Tanjung Puting National Park.

Companies without strong policies to cut deforestation from their products are exposed to illegal practices in high-risk areas, like the province of Riau in Sumatra. An example of this is the PT Rokan Adi Raya concession, which includes tiger habitat plus forested deep peat, and experienced large-scale forest clearance and uncontrolled fires last year. In June 2013, over 150 fire hotspots were recorded within this concession. Many of P&G’s palm oil suppliers ship from Dumai, the main port of Riau province.

Palm oil must make a genuine contribution to Indonesia’s development. Progressive palm oil producers in the Palm Oil Innovation Group, along with ambitious commitments from big palm oil players GAR and Wilmar, prove that there is a business case for using responsible palm oil. There is no excuse for companies like P&G to delay immediate action on deforestation.

Greenpeace is demanding P&G end its role in forest destruction. Take action now and sign the petition here.