CINCINNATI - Procter & Gamble Co. announced new sustainability goals Tuesday for no deforestation in its palm oil supply chain. The change was applauded by Greenpeace, whose activists staged a high-profile protest at P&G headquarters on March 4.
“P&G’s commitment to no deforestation in its palm supply chain is unequivocal,” said Len Sauers, P&G vice president of global sustainability, in a press release. “Our aim is to develop effective long-term solutions to the complicated issue of palm oil sustainability. We are committed to driving positive change throughout the entire supply chain, not just for us, but for the industry and for the small farmers who depend on this crop.”
P&G said its new standards go beyond the certification process established by the industry trade group, Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil. Among the changes to its policy are commitments to establish traceability of palm oil and palm kernel oil to supplier mills by December 2015 and ensure no deforestation in the palm supply chain to plantations by 2020.
"Greenpeace applauds P&G for making a much stronger commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil” said Joao Talocchi, Greenpeace Palm Oil Campaigner, in a statement released by the environmental group Tuesday. "The important thing now is for P&G to push all its palm oil suppliers to live up to these standards and do this as quickly as possible, in order to make a real difference in the rainforests of Indonesia.”
As WCPO has previously reported, P&G ranked at the bottom of personal care companies in its commitment to sustainable palm oil sourcing, according to a recent study the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Forests are at risk because palm oil producers are clearing trees for new plantations to satisfy rising global demand for palm oil. It's gaining in popularity because it is relatively cheap to produce and highly versatile in the production of food and chemical products. It also has less saturated fat than butter and no trans fat.
Worldwide production more than doubled since 2000, reaching 54 million metric tons in 2011, according to www.rainforest-rescue.org . About 90 percent of that production comes from Malaysia and Indonesia, where palm plantations now cover 9 million hectares and are growing at the rate of 300 soccer fields per hour.
Asked whether P&G's new palm standards is a reaction to the Greenpeace protest, spokesman Paul Fox said: "We have been working on Palm oil goals for many years and these strengthened commitments reflect our mission to ensure that the sourcing of these materials does not result in deforestation. That will be a win for all stakeholders."