Strategic Communications

We design communications strategies that shape opinion, drive action and mobilize support

Transforming the Commodity Sector with C-Suite Advocacy

Speed is essential to effective policy engagement, and no occasion proved that more than the Southeast Asian forest fires that periodically blanket Singapore with haze. In 2013, The fires caused unprecedented toxic air pollution. The driver: the massive demand for palm oil.

Climate Advisers had been waiting for this kind of opportunity. Because we had already conducted a strategic analysis of the palm oil sector with several large funders, we had identified Wilmar as the key bottleneck that could impact the entire industry: as the trader of 45% of the world’s palm oil, they could have a uniquely powerful impact up and down the supply chain if they could clean up their act and stop creating a market for products of deforestation.

Climate Advisers launched an aggressive rapid response media push to Southeast Asian business and other media framing the fires as the product of Wilmar’s willingness to purchase palm oil from deforestation.

Wilmar responded almost immediately. They announced a new commitment to end sourcing from companies involved in forest burning. But they did more than that – their CEO Kuok Khoon Hong contacted Climate Advisers directly, and we seized the chance to work on transforming Wilmar’s supply chain. We launched intensive direct negotiations with Kuok and his team in Singapore.

The result was an industry-transforming “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” policy announced in December 2013. Since then, with the market for responsible palm oil at last established, major consumer-facing companies have been making responsible commitments of their own almost weekly.