Kellogg commits to products with sustainable palm oil

by Jeff Gelski
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BATTLE CREEK, MICH. —The Kellogg Co. on Feb. 14 made a global commitment to work with its palm oil suppliers to source fully traceable palm oil produced in a manner that is environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable.

“As a socially responsible company, traceable, transparent sourcing of palm oil is important to us, and we are collaborating with our suppliers to make sure the palm oil we use is not associated with deforestation, climate change or the violation of human rights,” said Diane Holdorf, chief sustainability officer of Kellogg.

Kellogg will require all of its global palm oil suppliers to trace palm oil to plantations that are verified independently as legally compliant and that are adherent to Kellogg’s principles for protecting forests, peat lands and communities. In addition, the palm oil suppliers must be compliant with all principles and criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

By Dec. 31, 2015, palm oil suppliers must be compliant or be working to close any gaps identified in their action plans. Kellogg is a member of the R.S.P.O., which is an organization made up of oil palm growers, palm oil processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers, non-government organizations (N.G.O.s), banks and investors, and retailers.

Although Kellogg Co. said it is a “very small user” of palm oil, shareholders and activist groups have urged the company to use sustainable palm oil. Green Century Capital Management, which was founded by non-profit environmental advocacy groups, is a Kellogg shareholder.

“Green Century is excited to support Kellogg on this important palm oil journey, which will ensure the company’s core values are upheld throughout the supply chain and create long-term value for both shareholders and the environment,” said Lucia von Reusner, a shareholder advocate for Green Century. “Kellogg Co.’s commitment to directly engage its suppliers positions them as a leader in developing sustainable palm oil.”

Green Century on Nov. 11, 2013, asked Kellogg to confirm that palm oil used in its products was not linked to illegal and high-risk deforestation. A petition started last year and associated with SumOfUs, self-described as a worldwide movement for a better global economy, asked Kellogg to stop using Wilmar International as a palm oil supplier.

On Jan. 30 of this year, however, Green Century praised Wilmar International for a new policy designed to stop deforestation and exploitation of workers.

“If fully implemented, Wilmar’s new policy may reduce risks for its investors and sets a new standard for sustainable agricultural commodity production that protects forests, peat and communities,” Green Century said.
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