UPDATE – 9/23/2013: General Mills Responds to Palm Oil Inquiry

English: General Mills's logo.

English: General Mills’s logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another month, another inquiry into a corporation’s palm oil use.  I found some palm oil in a General Mills product.  I wrote them my usual anti-palm oil (sustainable) email.  Here’s their response:

General Mills shares your concern about the role of palm oil expansion in deforestation. We are also concerned about the impact on tropical rainforests, including the impact on biodiversity and endangered species associated with such deforestation,

We have analyzed General Mills’ use of palm oil. While General Mills does not purchase any palm oil directly, we do purchase ingredients produced from palm oil from suppliers. Overall, we calculate that General Mills’ use of palm oil and palm derivatives is relatively modest less than one-tenth of one percent of world exports.

Nevertheless, we feel that responsible companies can impact issues via principled purchasing practices and we have engaged our suppliers directly in discussions about palm oil production.
Already, each of our suppliers is a member and supporter of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil. General Mills has pledged to reinforce the RSPO by limiting our purchases only to RSPO members, and we will continue to engage our suppliers to monitor their commitments.
Again, thank you for taking the time and effort to contact us. We intend to continue to monitor this issue closely.
UPDATED:  9/23/2013:  I wrote a recent email to General Mills to inquire about their palm oil sourcing now.

Here’s their promising response.  A move in the right direction.  (Trust by verify.)

Thank you for your email.

General Mills remains a relatively minor user of palm oil, but we share your concern about the impact of palm oil expansion on the world’s rainforests.  Land use for palm has increased more than 40 percent in the last decade, and too often that expansion has involved deforestation.

General Mills is already publicly committed to striving to source 100% of our palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015 – and we are making solid progress.  We recently reported that our purchase and use of certified sustainable palm oil has topped 50 percent across our global portfolio – and we expect to increase that to 75 percent by the end of the year.  Unlike some, our report reflects primarily RSPO sustainable palm oil purchases, not the purchase of GreenPalm certificates.  We feel that is important also.

We purchase only from members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), as you may know.  And to help ensure our purchases are not associated with deforestation of rainforests – and reinforce certified sustainable palm oil production – we directly engage our palm oil suppliers in discussions and review their production and sourcing practices.

So we welcome your email, and we appreciate this opportunity to briefly respond.  We share the commitment to responsible sourcing of palm oil, and to ensuring that wildlife, biodiversity and indigenous peoples are not negatively impacted by our purchases.

For more information on our commitment to sourcing palm oil in  a socially and environmentally responsible way, please see our Statement on Sustainable Palm Oil on www.GeneralMills.com

Sincerely,

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2 Responses to UPDATE – 9/23/2013: General Mills Responds to Palm Oil Inquiry

  1. Pingback: Paul Mitchell Does NOT Use Palm Oil! | gettingonmysoapbox

  2. Pingback: General Mills: Getting Better On Their Palm Oil Policies | gettingonmysoapbox

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