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Brands fail to meet palm oil commitments

Greenpeace has accused a number of consumer goods giants including PepsiCo and Kellogg’s of failing to remove palm oil linked to deforestation from their supply chains.

A new report from the campaign group claims that despite commitments made under the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) to protect forests and limit climate change by cleaning up global commodity supply chains by 2020, a number of companies remain unwilling to disclose even basic information needed to turn the pledge into reality.

At the start of 2018, Greenpeace International challenged 16 leading members of the CGF to demonstrate progress towards a clean palm oil supply chain by disclosing the mills that produced their palm oil, and the names of the producer groups that controlled those mills. It said such a disclosure would show whether brands had companies involved in forest destruction in their supply chains, and would constitute a vital first step towards eliminating it.

Half of the brands – General Mills, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and ColgatePalmolive – provided Greenpeace with the information; however the other half have so far failed to do so. The eight companies include Ferrero, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, PZ Cussons and Smucker’s. The report showed that none of the companies surveyed were sourcing 100% ‘clean’ palm oil.

Daniela Montalto, Greenpeace UK forests campaigner, said progress towards an end to deforestation for palm oil by 2020 had been “woefully slow”. She added that by hiding where their palm oil comes from, brands were making their customers “unwittingly complicit in rainforest destruction”.

A spokesman for PZ Cussons said the company had achieved full traceability back to the refinery since 2016 and can currently trace 86% of its palm oil back to the mill. He added that longer term the company is seeking to achieve full transparency including ingredients derived from palm oil.

The BBC recently reported that 100,000 critically endangered orangutans have been killed in Borneo since 1999 with the key driver being deforestation linked to commodity supply chains.