Greenpeace makes a monkey out of agencies promoting Dove

Three PR agencies whose offices were targeted by Greenpeace this week have opted to remain tight-lipped about the episode.

Greenpeace protesters targeted Ogilvy, Lexis PR and JCPR
Greenpeace protesters targeted Ogilvy, Lexis PR and JCPR
Greenpeace visited the headquarters of Lexis PR, JCPR and Ogilvy on Monday as part of a wider campaign to persuade Unilever to stop using unsustainable palm oil (, 21 April).

All three agencies work on Unilever's Dove brand. Greenpeace delivered a copy of its latest report Burning Up Borneo to each of the agencies' headquarters.

PODCAST: Greenpeace's Mariana Paoli talks about the campaign against Unilever and PR agencies representing the Dove brand  

The report claims that Unilever uses suppliers that are driving the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands.

The charity also used staff dressed as orang-utangs to deliver a letter asking the agencies to put pressure on Unilever to change its practices.

As PRWeek went to press, Ogilvy declined to comment on the issue and JCPR had not returned calls. Meanwhile, Lexis provided a statement that read: ‘We respect Greenpeace's right to draw attention to the need for sustainable palm oil.

We share the same concerns as everyone else about the exp­ansion of palm oil production and believe that Unile­ver... is helping to lead the way in searching for solutions.'

Unilever defended itself by releasing a statement und­erlining its commitment to finding a solution for the palm oil problem and stating that in November 2007 the body it chaired had agreed criteria for sustainable palm oil production.

Unilever's head of global media relations Trevor Gor­in said the press team has focused on two key messages - demonstrating what had already been done, and exp­laining the company's sympathy to Greenpeace's cause.

Mariana Paoli
campaigner, Greenpeace
‘Monday was a really positive start for our campaign. We visited the agencies that work with Dove because we want them to know that the brand that they promote is linked to rainforest destruction because of its use of palm oil.

Mariana PaoliBeing socially and environmentally responsible should be an issue for leading PR companies, just as it has become so for many of their clients.

I was a little surprised at how defensive the agencies were, although they probably are not used to having orang-utans arriving in their offices in a normal working day. They aren't the main target for this work, though we do believe these agencies can play a positive role in changing Unilever's position.

I hope that once they read our report they'll realise what is at stake both for the climate and for species such as the orang-utan and will begin to lobby Unilever to respond positively to our campaign.

Greenpeace hasn't taken this approach before but as our work continues we may well continue to engage with other PR agencies that work with Unilever brands. This is just the beginning of our campaign.'

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