If ever there was an example of social media having a direct influence on corporate policy this is it.  Nestlé has just announced it’s working with The Forest Trust to ensure its sourcing of palm oil is not contributing to illegal rainforest clearance.

This follows the recent Greenpeace ‘Give rainforests a break’ campaign against the KitKat brand and Nestlé for using palm oil producers accused of illegal deforestation.

Now, suppliers that are linked to illegal deforestation practices will either have to change or be they’ll be dropped by the food manufacturer.

The successful Greenpeace social media campaign included a YouTube video which was viewed more than 1.5 million times, Facebook comments on Nestlé’s fan page, tweets sent through a fake Wi-Fi network that sent shareholders straight to the campaign and a comprehensive website.

The campaign garnered hundreds of thousands of mentions on the social internet and crossed over to mainstream media with story gaining high profile news coverage worldwide reaching an audience of many millions.  Click here for a great breakdown of the Greenpeace campaign.

Greenpeaces says the Nestlé and Forest Trust partnership sends a clear message to the palm oil industry and third-party suppliers that illegal deforestation is unacceptable.

This whole campaign sends a clear message to all organisations and brands that ignoring social media can be perilous.  Consumers are empowered and are willing to get behind initiatives they deem to be important. They expect companies to listen and react.