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Case Excerpt: Scott Poynton discusses Nestlé, Greenpeace, and Public Relations

Scott Poynton, Founder and Director of The Forest Trust, discusses the impact of Greenpeace’s marketing campaign against Nestle on Golden Agri Resources (GAR).

Scott Poynton, Founder and Director of The Forest Trust, 2016

“Greenpeace established a presence in Indonesia in 2005. Over the next five years, the organization issued report after report about the effect of the timber and palm oil industry on deforestation. These efforts gained some attention, but it was not until a social media campaign against Nestlé in 2010 went viral that the organization gained traction in its campaigns.

Greenpeace’s video targeting Nestlé featured a parody of a Kit Kat ad. Greenpeace launched the video on YouTube.  The video hit a nerve and started drawing hundreds of hits. After Nestlé further angered internet users by demanding the video be taken down, the video drew over a million views and generated over 200,000 e-mails to Nestlé.

Facing a serious public relations problem that was gaining attention from traditional print outlets as well, Nestlé took action. First, Nestlé announced that it was dropping Golden Agri Resources (GAR) as a supplier of palm oil. Then the company engaged The Forest Trust (TFT) to work with the company to frame guidelines for any future suppliers. TFT was a UK-registered NGO that specialized in working with companies to make their forest policies more sustainable.”