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Kellogg’s Sponsored Content and its claims about fighting climate change

June 7, 2016

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For several years now, MLive has been including in their news feed, what they called Sponsored Content. These are actually stories that are written by corporations or corporate associations, but often pass as news articles.

Last month, MLive posted one of these Sponsored Content stories written by the Michigan-based corporation, Kellogg’s. The article’s headline read, Better Foods for Your Family and the Earth.  Such a claim is presented as fact, since there is no fact checking or investigation from MLive. Kellogg’s in effect, gets to say whatever it wants to and make whatever claims it wants to, with no accountability.

The Sponsored Content in question does not include much text, rather some well crafted info graphics, which are meant to dazzle the eye with their bright colors and fun images.

We have written about the Green Capitalism claims that Kellogg has been making for many years. In 2011, the Battle Creek corporation was making the claim that the company is certified for its sustainable practices, through groups like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.32.10 AM

Author Heather Rogers (Green Gone Wrong) also has a critical take on the RSPO practices in a chapter on the ecological and social consequences of bio-fuels and palm oil. Rogers, who spent a great deal of time in Borneo doing research says that companies that are members of the RSPO have not only displaced local communities in order to plant palm tree plantations they have also cut down old growth forests in the process.

The company also has claimed for years that their business practices are actually fighting climate change. In an article we wrote in September of 2011, Kellogg’s claimed that the Carbon Disclosure Project has also given them high marks for fighting climate change. 

This is the strongest message in the most recent Sponsored Content on MLive, where Kellogg’s is claiming to make commitments to reducing greenhouses gases. One example is an interview that the CEO of Kellogg’s did last year during the Paris Climate Summit. You can watch this interview by going to the Kellogg’s Sponsored Content linked page, Open for BreakfastScreen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.25.30 AM

In this interview, the CEO of Kellogg’s talks about how their customers care about products like Pop Tarts and Pringles. The head of Kellogg’s also talks about their commitment to getting farmers around the world to grow in a sustainable manner. However, we should ask ourselves how it is possible for a company like Kellogg’s, which relies on so much grain production to make its processed foods, to actually practice climate justice. Wouldn’t it be better for the earth, as Kellogg’s claims, for people to not only eat locally, but to eat whole grains that did not end up being the products that Kellogg’s makes? What if the corn, rice and wheat that farmers grew for companies like Kellogg’s was grown for local consumption and eaten in a less processed form? Imagine the amount of energy and resources (like packaging) that would not be used if people we re allowed to eat unprocessed foods that were not controlled by the likes of Kellogg’s?

These are basic and obvious questions that need to be asked. They need to be asked because it would expose the false solutions to climate change that companies like Kellogg’s claims to fight.

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