CINCINNATI — Nine activists from the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace led a protest of consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble on Tuesday, charging the company with complicity in the destruction of Indonesian rainforests to establish palm tree plantations. The protesters rappelled down the twin towers of P&G’s Cincinnati headquarters, revealing two 60-foot banners reading “Head and Shoulders wipes out dandruff and rainforests” and “Head & Shoulders: Stop putting tiger survival on the line.”
According to Greenpeace, the palm oil found in P&G products such as Head & Shoulders shampoo and Gillette shaving cream is often sourced from plantations grown in clear-cut tropical areas. This practice endangers the habitat of numerous vulnerable species, among them the charismatic Sumatran tiger. One of the activists dressed in a tiger suit during the action to focus particular attention on the threat posed to this animal.
P&G’s official materials claim that the company is “strongly opposed to irresponsible and/or illegal deforestation practices” and promise that all of its palm oil will be purchased from confirmed sustainable sources by 2015. However, Greenpeace researchers argue that the firm’s supply chain includes environmentally unfriendly companies such as BW Plantations, which was recently charged with the destruction of prime orangutan habitat in central Kalimantan, Indonesia.
The nine protesters reportedly gained access to P&G “via a third party who shares a P&G office space,” according to spokeswoman Lisa Popyk. After climbing through the windows of the buildings and establishing the banners, the group maintained the action for approximately an hour before peacefully submitting to law enforcement. Each activist was charged with felony counts of burglary and vandalism, with possible indictment scheduled for March 14. The group is currently free on $50,000 cash bonds for each member, posted by Greenpeace.