Calen May-Tobin

Former policy analyst, Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative

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Calen May-Tobin was a lead analyst with the Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative, conducting research on palm-related deforestation and how to reduce the land-use carbon footprint of the palm oil industry. He holds a Master’s degree in ecology from the University of California, Irvine.

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PepsiCo’s New Palm Oil Commitment: Transparency, Trust, and the Company You Keep

Since starting our work on palm oil, UCS has taken a position that a company’s zero deforestation commitment needs to cover all of its operations, not just the products it sells or manufactures in the US. US consumers holding a company accountable for its global operations is not a new concept. The successful boycott of Nestlé in the US and Europe, which started in the late 1970’s, was the result of practices by that company in the developing world. Consumers not only want to buy products that don’t harm the planet but also want to buy products from companies they trust. Read more >

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The SPOM High Carbon Stock Study: A New Square Wheel

Imagine you hear that a group of businesses has hired some of the best minds in the world to invent a new thing called a “wheel.”

“Strange,” you say, “don’t we already have wheels?” In fact, aren’t most businesses, consumer groups, and customers pretty firmly in support of these current “wheels?” Read more >

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When It Comes to Palm Oil, PepsiCo Is Less than Perfect

Growing up, Back to the Future Part II epitomized what the future would look like. I dreamed of owning a hoverboard or riding in a flying car (it didn’t have to be a DeLorean, I wasn’t that picky). Well, that distant future of flying cars, dehydrated food, and self-drying clothes takes place in 2015, so the future is now.

However, on a recent viewing of the film what caught my attention wasn’t the hoverboards or holograms but a drink that Marty McFly orders at a diner. That drink: Pepsi Perfect. Through the work I’ve done investigating  companies’ links between deforestation and palm oil, I’ve learned a lot about PepsiCo’s policies and asked myself how close is the real PepsiCo to being “Pepsi Perfect”? Read more >

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Fall of the Oil Curtain: Palm Oil Manifesto Group Announce Forest Clearing Moratorium

The late summer and fall of 1989 marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union and communism in Europe. Mass movements of citizens in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and East Germany forced those governments to loosen their grip and open the gates (literally at times) to democracy. A quarter century later, we are seeing a similar toppling of the forces which aim to keep the palm oil industry trapped behind an oil curtain of corporate secrecy and rampant destruction of our forests, peatlands, and atmosphere. Read more >

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Out with Duh-nuts, in with DO-nuts: Two Major Fast Food Brands Tackle Deforestation

Every Tuesday night in college, I would get in my get in my ’87 Tercel and drive 15 miles over winding surface streets and three highways to my destination. Lit up like a Christmas tree, green, red, and white, it was a beacon in a darkened and deserted mall parking lot: Krispy Kreme. Read more >

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