General Mills makes palm oil sourcing pledge

by Eric Schroeder
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MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. on Sept. 22 committed to strive to source 100% of its palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015.

In a “Statement on Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing” published on, the company said its objective is “to help ensure our purchases are not associated in any way with deforestation of the world’s rainforests — and to further reinforce the development of certified sustainable palm oil production practices.”

While General Mills only uses about one-tenth of 1% of world palm oil production, the company acknowledged that responsible users of even small amounts of ingredients may impact issues via principled purchasing practices.

In issuing its statement, General Mills said it is concerned about the role of palm oil expansion in the deforestation of the world’s rainforests, and about the impact of deforestation on biodiversity, endangered species, greenhouse gas emissions and indigenous peoples.

General Mills also gave its support for a moratorium on the destruction of high-conservation value forests and high-carbon value landscapes, such as draining of peat-lands, for expansion of palm oil production. Additionally, the company pledged to never knowingly source palm oil produced through palm oil expansion resulting in deforestation or destruction of such vulnerable ecosystems.

“This is an urgent issue for the planet we share,” said Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer for General Mills. “The increase in global demand for palm oil is putting pressure on some of the world’s most valuable rainforest ecosystems.

“Our work with environmental organizations, including Rainforest Action Network, helped focus us on this important issue. By addressing responsible palm oil sourcing publicly and directly, we hope to provide leadership with peers and suppliers on the need to produce palm oil in an environmentally and socially responsible way.”

If a supplier violates the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil policies involving destruction of high-conservation value rainforest, General Mills said it would move to “acceptably remediate the concern.”

“General Mills will move to suspend or eliminate palm oil purchases from the supplier in question,” the company said. “Our objective is clear: General Mills will strive to source 100% of our palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015.”

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