Oatly is facing backlash after the private equity firm Blackstone acquired a stake in the plant-based milk company.
The Swedish oat-milk maker sold a $200 million stake in July to a group of high-profile investors including Blackstone, Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation.
The deal, which valued Oatly at nearly $2 billion, has come under scrutiny due to Blackstone’s connections to Trump, the global housing crisis, and deforestation in the Amazon.
According to CNBC, Blackstone’s CEO, Steve Schwarzman, gave $3 million to the pro-Trump super PAC and has served as a close confidant of the president since he took office.
The United Nations also has accused Blackstone of contributing to the world housing crisis by inflating rents and imposing heavy fees and charges for ordinary repairs, The Guardian reported.
Finally, a Twitter thread also drew attention to Blackstone’s part-ownership of two Brazilian infrastructure firms, Hidrovias do Brazil and Pátria Investimento, which have been blamed for contributing to deforestation in the Amazon.
Hidrovias has been accused of building hundreds of miles of industrial roadway through the Amazon to facilitate the farming and export of grain and soybeans.
Blackstone has denied “these erroneous claims and mischaracterizations” in a statement responding to the Hidrovias accusations.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Oatly responded to the calls to boycott the oat milk-brand saying that, although Blackstone may be an “unexpected choice”, the investment “will help us expand our sustainable mission and create more plant-based products.”
“[T]hrough this partnership we are able to get the leading player in private equity to invest in sustainability and to align their goals and values with our own,” the company said.
Oat-milk sales in the U.S. grew over 470% year on year to mid-March, making it the fastest-growing drink sector in that time, according to Nielsen data.
Read about some of the benefits of switching to plant-based milks.
Eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
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