3/5/2013: Although I’m a fan of Quaker’s Oatmeal Squares cereal, I use my purchasing power to buy a Kellogg’s cereal instead because Quaker’s response to my palm oil query was woefully inadequate. (see below link). Unfortunately, Kellogg’s uses palm oil too. (Is there any such thing as truly sustainable palm oil yet? Or is it all just greenwash?) So I wrote them. Here’s their response:
Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts
about palm oil in Kellogg’s®cereal products. Your input
is important to us and we appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concern.
As a socially responsible company, Kellogg looks forward to the
day when a sufficient and feasible supply of sustainably grown palm oil is available. We are a member of RSPO, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an organization that continues to work toward the development of a consistent and sufficient supply of segregated, sustainably grown palm oil. We intend to purchase sustainable palm oil once a segregated palm oil supply is available that is financially and logistically feasible.
Kellogg is also:
–Helping growers fund the transition to sustainable palm oil by purchasing Green Palm certificates to cover 100% of our global palm oil use in 2011.
–Only purchasing palm oil from suppliers that are members of the RSPO.
–Encouraging its blended palm oil suppliers to continue to increase the percentage of sustainable palm oil in the supplies they purchase, as the available supply increases.
–Requiring our vendor partners to commit to
reducing their impact on the environment through our Supplier Code of Conduct.
–Supporting the Consumer Goods Forum pledge to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.
Please know that we will continue to monitor this issue and work toward the best combination of ingredients that are environmentally responsible and provide the taste and nutrition that you expect from Kellogg Company.
We are always eager to receive your feedback and want you to know your comments have been shared with the right people here at Kellogg. To learn more about our
foods we invite you to visit us at www.kelloggs.com.
This is definitely promising, though we certainly are aware of the RSPO’s limitations. Look, Kellogg’s is a huge company, and if they, Starbucks, Unilever, and others can change their evil palm oil ways, anybody can –or at least start the pursuit of sustainable palm oil. Before it’s too late. Yes, I’m still a skeptic. Green Palm certificates do NOT mean Kellogg’s products contain only sustainable palm oil. Rather, it’s more akin to a cap-and-trade scheme with companies buying certificates off an exchange and the money going to ostensibly sustainable growers. It’s not perfect.
But it sounds a bit better than Quaker. Here’s their response from about a year ago. I should ping them again and see what’s changed: https://gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/quaker-responds/
UPDATE – 2/14/2014: Amid much pressure, Kellogg’s agrees to stop buying deforestation palm oil.
Kellogg Co. (K) has agreed to buy palm oil only from suppliers who can prove they don’t damage rain forests, the strongest move yet by a public food manufacturer to stop the practice, according an environmental group that pressured the maker of Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies.
Another article from Rhett Butler’s Mongabay: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0214-kellog-palm-oil-policy.html
- Starbucks Agrees to 100% Certified Palm Oil (sustainablebusiness.com)
- Starbucks Will Source Only Sustainable Palm Oil By 2015 (triplepundit.com)