Eat Clif Bars Guilt Free!? Maybe So!

 

Clif

My company was looking for snacks for employees that were environmentally ethical (based on my constant prodding and pressure.  Yes they’re sick of me!).  I saw the palm oil used in some of our previous snacks and put up my usual stink.  They asked for alternatives.  So I looked into Clif Bars.  So I wrote them.  Here’s their response:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

We are committed to sourcing sustainable palm oil.

• We have worked with our palm oil suppliers to understand their commitment to positive environmental and community practices.

• We use U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic palm oil in many of our bars, which ensures a strong ecological approach to palm oil production. Currently, 100 percent of our organic supply is Rainforest Alliance certified.

• Our organic supplier of palm oil was recently granted 100 percent Rainforest Alliance certification.

We are currently working with our suppliers to identify where we can increase the percentage of organic and/or Rainforest Alliance certified palm oil.

We’re actively doing our part to protect the planet, the people and wildlife that inhabit it. We continue to learn more in our journey toward sustainability and we thank you for joining us on that journey.

We sincerely want to do our part to protect the planet and the people and wildlife that inhabit it. We continue to learn more and more as our journey toward sustainability continues and we thank you for joining us on the journey.

Sincerely,
Demetria
Consumer Service Representative

Ref #: 000509334A

While the cynical side of me sees various loopholes here, such as “what about the non-organic palm oil” they may use?  Where does that come from?  Is IT sustainable?!

But credit this company.  It sure as hell means more than merely being a member of the RSPO or “we purchase Green Palm Certificates”, doesn’t it?

So enjoy those Clif bars.  But verify!

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4 Responses to Eat Clif Bars Guilt Free!? Maybe So!

  1. We should just go back to using trans fats — I mean seriously. Palm oil came into play when trans fats were demonized. I’d rather eat trans fats than wipe out species due to palm plantations.

    Thanks for keeping up the fight. Your loyal follower in Boston.

  2. Dianna says:

    I must add that the word “sustainable” is very misleading when it comes to palm oil. Palm trees, once planted, can produce for 25 to 30 years. So that palm oil can be deemed “sustainable” for those years without doing a thing to improve the environment, and despite forests being razed initially to plant that tree. If that forest clearing occurred approximately 5 to 10 years ago (I can’t recall the exact year they began this system), the oil can be certified by RSPO as “sustainable,” though supposedly if the company producing it is razing forests elsewhere at the same moment they are not able to claim any of their oil is RSPO-certified, though this is not effectively policed and plenty of certification has recently come under scrutiny because of the lax methods of determination. (Whether you trust the RSPO group’s aims or methods of certification is another topic altogether.)

    The term “sustainable” also has nothing to do with best farming or harvesting practices. Once those trees stop producing, they must be replaced, but the trees deplete the soil so badly during their lifetimes, the land they sit on will need years of restoration (or chemical modification) in order to support a new planting of oil palm trees. There is nothing about this monoculture crop that is sustainable other the fact the trees produce for so many years without modification to the rich soil they were planted in.

    So beware of relying on that word “sustainable.” Palm oil does not compare with an annual agricultural crop cycle.

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