Environmental Activists Briefly Take Down Pepsi True

Pepsi True frontLast month, PepsiCo launched Pepsi True, its new cane sugar and stevia-sweetened soda, which is sold exclusively through Amazon.com.

Earlier this week, however, Pepsi True was removed from Amazon’s listings after environmental activists flooded the site with over 3,600 negative reviews and one-star ratings for the product.

The organized display of protest was led by environmental activist groups SumOfUs.org and the Rainforest Action Network, who are upset about Pepsi’s recently updated policy regarding the use of palm oil, which they claim is “weak, especially on preventing slavery, enforcement, and a plan for implementation.”

Earlier this year, PepsiCo committed to using only palm oil from suppliers associated with the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil by 2016. But the company’s detractors claim the commitment falls short of guaranteeing that PepsiCo would avoid social conflict and deforestation in its supply chain regions.

“How can ANYONE trust a company that continues to support rainforest destruction by buying unsustainable palm oil. It’s time for Pepsi to truly lead the way and commit to only buying palm oil from 100% sustainable sources – now,” one review reads.

“Pepsi can’t hide from the destruction that it refuses to eliminate from its supply chain,” said Kaytee Riek, a campaign director at SumOfUs. “It could rise above its competitors and do the right thing, but it has relied on half measures.”

As of press time, SumOfUs.org has collected 223,000 signatures from around the world urging the company to take on more sustainable palm oil policies.

On Thursday, despite it’s overwhelmingly negative reviews, Pepsi True was relisted on Amazon. In a statement to MongaBay.com, a Pepsi spokesperson called the activists campaign “an orchestrated effort to post inaccurate information about our product and PepsiCo’s palm oil policy.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Pepsi True launched on Monday. We regret the error.