In addition to grain, meat, livestock feed, and pharmaceutical ingredients, Cargill is also involved in palm oil production, a highly saturated vegetable fat that's used in soaps and many processed foods. Cargill is the leading supplier to U.S. food companies Kraft, Nestle and General Mills, and the use of palm oil has risen dramatically over the last five years.
According to the Rainforest Action Network (via the Huffington Post), the company is "mowing down" Indonesian rain forests for palm oil production. The claim compares the destruction to an area the size of Disney World, and says this expansion is directly causing the endangerment of wildlife specific to that region.
Cargill denies the claim, saying that what they cut down wasn't designated as an actual forest -- but it's hard to argue that a tree isn't a tree. A statement on Cargill's website reads "the entire area where our properties are located in Kalimantan [Indonesia] were deforested over ten years ago, which was before we acquired the plantations."
As Reuters points out, despite Cargill's recent commitments to go "green" in their palm oil production, environmental groups aren't waiting around for that to happen -- and if any perceived violation is happening, they'll be quick to call it out.
Sounds like this battle is just heating up.