According to The Wall Street Journal, both activists and the corporations they rail against are moving at internet speed.
Just last week we took note of the Greenpeace campaign against Unilever, a company they accused of Indonesian deforestation.
Speaking at a climate change conference in London Thursday, Unilever Chief Executive Patrick Cescau said his firm will buy palm oil (an ingredient in Dove soap) only from suppliers who can demonstrate they haven’t cut down forests.
The speed of the campaign marks a big moment for activist groups. One Greenpeace ad has been watched more than 250,000 times in the week it has been on YouTube.com. Just as the world’s biggest marketers have used such Internet sites to get their video ads to consumers, pressure groups are now using the technique to cheaply and quickly spread their message.
A Unilever spokesman said the Greenpeace protests “had some bearing” but little influence on Unilever’s decision to source palm oil. He said the company’s policy has been in the works since November.
Palm oil is produced mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia by farmers who squeeze the oil from small flowers found on oil palms. Surging prices for the oil have contributed to deforestation, especially in Indonesia, where farmers have cut down rain forests for palm plantations.
Here’s an earlier video from Greenpeace on the same issue: