U.S. food-maker General Mills is the latest multinational firm to announce it will stop buying palm oil from companies accused of destroying rain forests. Other U.S. companies — Unilever, Nestle, Kraft and Burger King — have announced similar shifts in policy.
The maker of popular brands like Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Hamburger Helper said this week it would try to procure all of its palm oil from ‘responsible and sustainable sources’ by 2015, according to a report in USA Today.
Palm oil is one of the most commonly found ingredients in thousands of consumer products, from soap and lipstick, to breakfast cereal and soymilk. Its widespread use is increasing around the world, including the U.S, where its consumption has tripled in the last five years.
The resulting demand for crops has triggered the destruction of Indonesian rainforests in favor of palm oil plantations. Not only does the land grab threaten unique species like orangutans but also infringes of the rights Indigenous communities.
“Our work with environmental organizations, including Rainforest Action Network, helped focus us on this important issue,” said Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer of General Mills in a press statement. “By addressing it very directly in a publicly stated policy, we hope to provide leadership with peers and with our suppliers on the need to source palm oil in an environmentally and socially responsible way.”
The Rainforest Action Network will continue working with General Mills on the ongoing implementation of the new policy.
(READ the story at USA Today)