Rapid expansion of palm oil plantations has created environmental and social concerns.

WASHINGTON D.C. — The report “Moment of Truth” recently released by Greenpeace International found that many global food manufacturers are not on track to meet their commitment to creating clean palm oil supply chains by 2020. The environmental group challenged businesses to speed up measures and increase their transparency. 

According to Greenpeace, the effects of deforestation due to the production of palm oil continues even though many businesses have pledged to end unfavorable practices, which includes rainforest destruction, clearing peatland and exploiting workers and local communities. The organization pointed to the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF)’s goal to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 as a prime example of companies’ falling short.

Putting pressure on food companies and other C.P.G.s, the organization asked brands to disclose their palm oil suppliers, along with the mills that produced the palm oil they used, in January. Eight companies, which include Hershey Co., Kraft Heinz and J.M. Smucker Co., failed to report this information while Kellogg Co. and PepsiCo, Inc. only reported the direct suppliers they currently work with.

Eight other companies, including Nestle, Unilever, General Mills, Ferrero, Mars and Mondelez, disclosed suppliers and mills. From this information, Greenpeace found that the businesses were still working with producers that actively clear rainforests but applauded the companies for taking steps toward transparency.

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world with Malaysia and Indonesia accounting for 86% of global production, according to CGF. While palm oil can be produced sustainably, the rapid expansion of plantations has created environmental and social concerns.

Greenpeace believes a clean supply chain can be sustained through a strong ‘no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation’ policy. It noted that manufacturers can enact this sourcing system by 2020 by following certain guidelines.This includes developing timelines with explicit goals, publicly listing the mills and producer groups in their supply chains and investigating and monitoring unethical practices. 

To view the full report, click here