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Brand abuse dilemma for Fonterra

Friday 8th October 2010 6 Comments

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Dairy giant Fonterra is “preserving all options” for response to an online Greenpeace advertisement extensively using Fonterra’s branding and linking its products to rainforest destruction.

The ad is playing on some New Zealand websites and Greenpeace is mobilising members and green networks to make it “go viral”, in an effort to force a reaction from New Zealand’s largest multi-national company, which is under fire for sanctioning the use of palm kernels as a dairy feed supplement.

A global supply of palm kernels is available from oil palm plantations, which are supplanting rainforest in countries such as Indonesia.

Among the effects is the destruction of habitats for orang-utans. The spoof ad shows a jogger, played by a former Shortland Street star choking on an orang-utan hairball while drinking from a bottle labelled “Fonterra Milk” and using Fonterra’s heavily trademark-protected logo.

“We are not happy about the misuse of our logo and branding,” a Fonterra spokesman said. Asked whether legal action had been considered, he said Fonterra was “preserving all options”.

The dairy industry has argued palm kernals were a previously valueless by-product of the palm oil industry and should be accepted as a feedstock. Greenpeace has targeted Fonterra in New Zealand, knowing the company is highly sensitive to protecting its global image as a safe, environmentally ethical New Zealand producer.

“So far, Fonterra is trying to ignore it and hoping we'll go away,” said Greenpeace climate change campaigner Nick Young.

“Let's make sure that tactic doesn't work.”

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Comments from our readers

On 8 October 2010 at 3:49 pm Graeme said:
I have now cancelled my payment to this band of radical loonies and will be cancelling my membership as well. Not only are they intent on sabotaging one of NZ's biggest money earners, they are potentially putting my job at risk too. Never again will I support your cause. You are just getting too crazy now.
On 9 October 2010 at 10:55 am Anne said:
Why do Fonterra think it is acceptable to help destroy the rainforests? I now won't buy any Fontera milk or their products. Profit above everything - how farming has changed to 'just big business'. And Graeme, your job's at risk from far bigger things - try mass production in India, far closer to alot of NZ's markets. Good planets are hard to find - we need to look after this one.
On 9 October 2010 at 11:46 am Chris said:
Greenpeace should get their facts straight, it's not animal feed that will contribute to rain forest destruction but rather the primary use of palm oil in all the processed foods we choose to eat. As populations increase this is only going to get worse. Moreover watch what happens when palm oil is used to manufacture biodiesel. This is already happening in Malaysia, Singapore and Scandinavia. So grow up Greenpeace and target the real offenders. Pick targets that are going to make a difference. And Anne - You show your lack of intelligence when you use emotive terms like 'profit above everything'.
On 11 October 2010 at 3:36 pm Prefer to be clean and green unlike fonterra said:
Chris you've got it wrong and you must know that's not how business works. If Fonterra create a market for the supply of this biproduct of making palm oil, then they are somewhat responsible for the growth in palm oil production. Buying palm kernals certainly doesn't help to reduce palm production, or the deforestation of tropical forests, does it?
On 14 October 2010 at 9:33 am Sue said:
If Plam Kernel Extract was not fed to animals then it would be burned in the country of origin. This would create even more problems for the rainforests. At least by using it as animal feed it gets to go around the food chain, and provide funds to countries who need all the foreign earnings they can achieve for their people.
On 10 November 2010 at 3:16 am Gerald said:
Sue your perception is insane. By using the product you support the product. End of story. As for these people needing money. They should get it without using corrupted industries. Like they see 0.01% of the income anyway.
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