Found in everything from shampoo to donuts, palm oil is now the most common vegetable oil in the world—and also one of the world’s leading drivers of tropical deforestation, which accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s heat-trapping emissions.
Thanks in part to letters from supporters like you, more than 60 percent of palm oil traded today is covered by commitments to protect tropical forests and our climate! But some palm oil companies are still cutting down forests to produce palm oil, in part because international banks and investors continue to fund their destructive ways.
Unfortunately, the investment firm TIAA has several hundred millions of dollars invested in palm oil companies but lacks any safeguards to prevent funding of those laggard companies who have refused to go deforestation-free.
Like many of you, my retirement funds are invested with TIAA and I won’t stand for this. Many banks and institutional investors are increasingly adopting policies to prevent financing companies that operate in ways that are illegal or unethical. TIAA should follow suit and commit to a Deforestation and Land Grab-Free investment policy that entails these pillars of responsibility:
- Publicly disclose its palm oil holdings.
- Commit to a deforestation-free and land grab-free investment policy.
- Exclude companies that do not meet the criteria of the aforementioned policy.
- Advocate with the companies it owns to repair social and environmental harm.
- Re-invest in a more sustainable future.