Frustrated with Procter & Gamble’s lack of urgency in finding sustainably sourced palm oil, Greenpeace literally took to the streets in Cincinnati and London in protest. The activists, including two dressed as a tiger and an orangutan, unfurled banners on the side of P&G’s Cincinnati headquarters and erected barricades in front of its advertising agency’s headquarters in London. At the same time, Greenpeace posted a video on You Tube mocking the “Thank you Mom” ad campaign and focusing on the plight of orangutans.
This is a good example of how non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace are ramping up their mass communications efforts to raise people’s awareness of important environmental issues and change their behavior, while governments lumber along, taking years to initiate and enact news rules and regulations.
While Procter & Gamble may have their dander up at the bad press, Unilever executives may be smiling for the way they stayed ahead of the curve. As we wrote in September 2013, Unilever’s goal is to source 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably. In the way they managed their message about palm oil, Unilever stands head and shoulders above P&G.