I know, I know. When it comes to trusting evil corporations, who are only beholden to their shareholders, to do the right thing, I’m as cynical and doubtful as the next guy. Well, I wanted to use a General Mills product recently, but have been boycotting it, so I wrote them a recent email first before buying.
I also generated an email through Rainforest Action Network’s latest campaign — Cut Conflict Palm Oil to Gain My Trust — which can be found here (Please sign): http://act.ran.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=8546
Well, here’s their response these days.
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.
UPDATED 3/24/2014: Just received this from General Mills — unsolicited. Looks as if they’re pretty happy with themselves and want everybody to know it. You know what’s sad? Is that so much energy had to be expended by environmentalists, NGO’s, animal lovers and advocates to get big evil corporations to realize that their sourcing policies were killing off the environment in the first place! Like they don’t know themselves?
Thank you for your recent email regarding palm oil and the world’s rainforests.
As I explained in my earlier response, General Mills had already committed to striving to source 100 percent of our palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015 – and our purchase and use of certified and sustainable palm oil is already at approximately 50 percent. Coupled with our leverage of Green Palm certificates in certain markets, our overall measure of sustainable and green palm would top 75 percent across our global portfolio.
But I would like to share with you recent updates we’ve made to further strengthen our palm oil commitment.
This week, General Mills strengthened its expectations for suppliers on several key points, including:
No development on high conservation landscapes or high carbon stock forests;
No development on peat lands – regardless of depth – and use of best management practices for existing plantations on peat;
Provision of traceability to the extraction mill; and,
Validation of sources of fresh fruit bunches.
Some provisions are new, while others simply strengthen our existing commitments with new or stronger language. But I thought you would want to know.
General Mills will also continue to leverage its Supplier Code of Conduct – outlining expectations in areas such as human rights and anti-corruption – to ensure our suppliers accept only legally sourced palm oil from producers and growers who prevent and resolve social and/or land conflicts in a manner consistent with the principle of free prior and informed consent.
As always, our Statement on Sustainable Palm Oil is available on www.GeneralMills.com
Again, thank you for your interest and for this opportunity to update you our continuing progress.
Chief Sustainability Officer
General Mills Yippee.
Don’t expect any applause from me for finally doing the right thing.
- New Campaign Aims To Remove “Conflict Palm Oil” from America’s Snack Foods (prnewswire.com)
- Oil palm supply: RSPO builds capacity among stakeholders (vanguardngr.com)
- My Sunday Morning Breakfast Snacks are Killing Orangutan? (enviroscandal.wordpress.com)
- Did You Know? These 8 Vegan Foods Contain Palm Oil (onegreenplanet.org)
- America’s Top Snack Food Brands Named and Shamed in a Bid to Save Orangutans (onegreenplanet.org)
- Private sector can’t handle haze alone, says ASEAN panel (channelnewsasia.com)
- Costco’s Darrell Lea’s Australian Liquorice Bites – Yes, They Contain Palm Oil (gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com)