On Friday, February 28, the palm oil industry crossed an important threshold: A new policy from Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) means that most of the palm oil in the world is going to come from sources that don’t drive deforestation.
- GAR has long been a significant player in the palm oil industry, and is the second-largest palm oil grower in the world. In 2011, responding to Nestlé’s Responsible Sourcing Guidelines, GAR worked with the sustainable products nonprofit TFT and Greenpeace to establish a landmark Forest Conservation Policy for the palm oil it grows.
- But GAR’s 2010 policy did not apply to the palm oil it traded – which, at the time, was minimal. Over the past year, however, GAR has dramatically expanded its trading operation and now controls about ten percent of global palm oil trade.
- On a shareholder call on Friday and in a filing posted on the Singapore Stock Exchange, GAR announced that it is extending its landmark Forest Conservation Policy to the palm oil it trades.
- GAR’s new policy puts them in line with Wilmar International’s “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” policy announced December 5. Wilmar controls about 45 percent of global palm oil trade.
Together, GAR and Wilmar trade most of the palm oil in the world – and as of today, that means most of the palm oil in the world is going to be responsibly sourced.
“GAR’s announcement signals that an industry that has been synonymous with deforestation and species extinction is rapidly evolving towards responsible production,” said Glenn Hurowitz, Executive Director of Catapult, who worked with Wilmar to develop their policy. “The industry has reached a tipping point. Consumer companies now have several different options to source deforestation-free palm oil, and no longer need to rely on companies like Cargill and IOI that continue to resist change. Investors should take note that companies that continue to deforest just aren’t going to have the same kind of market access as their competitors. In the debate over the future of the palm oil industry, the forests are winning.”
Huge news today out of Battle Creek. Kellogg's has stepped it up and announced a new, ambitious palm oil commitment.
The new commitment requires suppliers to adhere to the following practices by December 31, 2015.
No deforestation: Suppliers must protect forests, endangered species habitat, lands with high carbon content, and peatland of any depth, going beyond the inadequate requirements of current roundtable-derived standards.
No exploitation: Suppliers are required to protect human and community rights, including land tenure rights and obtain Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from communities for development on their lands.
Traceability: Kellogg is working with suppliers to achieve full traceability of its palm oil back to known plantation sources.
The announcement comes not long after a December declaration by Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm company, that it would enact a new “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation Policy” for all the palm oil across its supply chain. For months the The Forest Heroes campaign mobilized thousands of Michiganders and people across the globe to call on Kellogg to influence Wilmar, its joint venture partner, to adopt these strong standards. Kellogg’s did just that and Wilmar listened!
Then, advocates called on Kellogg’s to get its own house in order by enacting strong sourcing policies of its own. Just two weeks ago, local residents delivered 365 photo petitions in the form of a picture-a-day calendar to the Kellogg headquarters in Battle Creek, demanding that the company become a true “Forest Hero” in 2014.
Today, Kellogg did just that, joining a growing number of companies in making deforestation-free commitments that are helping set a new standard for the industry.
“Today, Kellogg’s decided to become a Forest Hero,” said Jez Vedua, a Battle Creek resident, dietician, and volunteer with the Forest Heroes campaign. “Kellogg has truly shown that from great starts come great things. After helping change the global palm oil sector last December, today they put their own house in order. Once this commitment is backed up by a policy and implemented in full, consumers can be sure Kellogg’s cereal and other products aren’t made from palm oil grown by destroying rainforests.”
If fully enacted, the commitment would go a long way in making the company a global leader in promoting a more responsible palm oil supply.
Share the good news with your friends and followers. Here's a sample Tweet:
New @KelloggCompany commitment on palm oil and rainforest protection is grrrreeaat! http://bit.ly/1j89nq9
Read the Catapult Action press release below for more of the juicy details, and check out more "thank you" photos from Forest Heroes below:
Joel Finkelstein of Catapult Action shared some important information about the agribusiness company Bunge and its relation to Wilmar and Sarawak. Here's his explainer, shared from the Catapult Action blog, with some tips below.
On today's earnings call (info here) at 10 am ET, agribusiness giant company Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG) will report on its global business results. But evidence has just emerged that Bunge is excessively reliant on a single palm oil supplier that has engaged in rampant deforestation and clearance of ultra carbon rich peatland, and is working to sabotage emerging progress that is breaking the link between commodity production and deforestation.
Why This Matters: Bunge and Sarawak
Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd (SOP) is actively working to sabotage progress towards protecting forests, peatlands, and the people that rely on them. According to trade data, Bunge purchases 88% of the Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd Company exports. According to Bunge’s own filings with the industry trade group, this represents approximately 44% of Bunge’s total global palm oil supply.
Sourcing from SOP will likely make Bunge ineligible to supply to major global, premium value customers because of SOP’s rampant deforestation and clearance of peat. The world’s largest palm oil consumers including Nestle, Unilever, Hershey’s, Mondelez, Ferrero Rocher, Neste Oil, Safeway, and Reckitt Benckiser have all made public commitments not to source palm oil from companies engaged in deforestation or peatland clearance. Many other companies are racing to adopt similar policies in response to rising pressure from consumers. Continuing to source from SOP means that Bunge will have a difficult time accessing these markets.
Sarawak’s actions have drawn the attention of major companies and investors and create a significant liability for Bunge. Reporters should ask what actions it will take to mitigate this risk.
Wilmar International (the world’s largest palm oil trader with a 45% market share) recently announced its “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” policy that requires their suppliers to immediately cease deforestation, peatland clearance and human rights abuse. Wilmar is working hard to implement the policy, and we have already seen many supplier companies take action to comply. As such, the policy has created important momentum.
Again, info on the call can be found here.
More on Sarawak below
Over the past week, over 34,000 people have added their names to a petition asking Kellogg to commit to a deforestation-free palm oil policy. These names are added to the over 150,000 who have already demanded it over the course of the Forest Heroes campaign.
They also join the over 100 Michigan businesses, organizations, and institutions who signed onto a letter urging Kellogg to adopt a comprehensive palm oil plan.
The letter read, in part:
Dear Kellogg’s CEO John Bryant,
Kellogg’s has long prided itself on sustainability and corporate responsibility and is a well-respected Michigan-based company....
We also call upon Kellogg’s to adopt a similar comprehensive palm oil procurement policy, building upon the current commitments you have already made.
... We call on you to act before it’s too late to save the world’s last remaining 400 tigers.
You can check out the full list of signees after the jump.
Today, a dozen local residents converged on Kellogg headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, demanding that the company fulfill its potential as a true Forest Hero. Advocates delivered a picture-a-day 2014 calendar to Kellogg’s Battle Creek headquarters containing 365 photo petitions from concerned citizens -- roughly one for each of the less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the world. The group asked Kellogg to become a Forest Hero in 2014 by adopting a global responsible palm oil purchasing policy this year that requires all palm oil used by the company to be deforestation-free and exploitation-free. The group also delivered over 13,700 personal messages to Kellogg’s CEO John Bryant from consumers across the globe, collected by global consumer watchdog SumOfUs.org.
In December we shared the incredible news that palm oil giant Wilmar -- a major joint venture partner of Kellogg's -- announced a new “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation Policy.” The policy would, if implemented, catalyze a wholesale change in how palm oil is produced, and where plantations are sited. This was a major victory for the Forest Heroes campaign, which after months of campaigning, successfully compelled Kellogg's CEO John Bryant and other Kellogg executives and staff to urge Wilmar to adopt the policy.
Yet Kellogg's own palm oil policy is still inadequate. As surreal as it is to say this, now its time for Kellogg to follow Wilmar's lead.
“If Tony the Tiger has taught us anything, it’s that ‘pretty good’ isn’t good enough,” said said Joyce Jackson, Battle Creek resident and volunteer with the Forest Heroes Campaign. “Kellogg’s should resolve to be a grrrrrrrreeeat Forest Hero. It helped change its business partner Wilmar’s destructive practices, but now Kellogg’s has to get its own house in order.”
Here's a slideshow of the many of the 365 photo petitions, and the press release and more photos from the delivery are below.
We know it's a busy time of year, but environmental catastrophe doesn't take a holiday. And that's exactly what seems to be happening in the Indonesian state of Aceh this very week. Please read this very important plea from Gemma Tillack of Rainforest Action Network to learn more about how some critical Indonesian rainforest is at risk of being essentially given away to the palm oil, forestry, and mining industries. And then do what you can to help.
The Government of Aceh will sign into effect a new land use plan (called the Spatial Development Plan) that would effectively reclassify the region from an area protected for its biodiversity and ecosystem services opening it up for logging, development of oil palm plantations, mining and other forest concessions. This plan is due to be approved by 31 December 2013.
The Leuser Ecosystem provides critical environmental services to several million of Aceh's people and is home to the Sumatran Tiger, Rhino, Elephant and Orang-utan. If the Spatial Development plan goes ahead the people of Aceh will be significantly impacted and theSumatran Rhino, Tiger, Elephant and Orang-utan will be pushed to extinction.
The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme is leading a united campaign called Save Aceh that aims to put pressure on the Governor of Aceh NOT to sign off on this plan. The Save Aceh campaign also aims to put pressure on the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono via twitter (a platform he uses prolifically) asking him to #SaveAceh #SelamatkanAceh.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you use twitter then tweet your support for the campaign. It is important that you TAG @SBYudhoyono, @presidenSBY and use #SaveAceh and/ or #SelamatkanAceh.
Here are suggested tweets, after the jump:
All we want for Christmas is for Kellogg's to be a Forest Hero!
Check out the slideshow above to see over 150 photo messages from Forest Heroes across Michigan. They are thanking Kellogg's for influencing their corporate partner Wilmar International to stop destroying rain forests, and calling on Kellogg's to take the next step by only using ingredients that are deforestation-free and exploitation-free.
Want to join the campaign? Share this page on Facebook and Twitter, or even better go here and take action yourself: Tell Kellogg's to be a Forest Hero!
Or just copy and paste this Tweet: All These 150 Michiganders Want For Christmas is for Kellogg to be @ForestHeroes goo.gl/1QCoMJ
Glenn Hurowitz, Managing Director at Climate Advisors, Marc Engel, Chief Procurement Officer of Unilever, Kuok Khoun Hong, CEO of Wilmar International, and Scott Poynton, Executive Director of TFT, getting ready to sign an industry-shifting agreement.
For months now, through the Forest Heroes campaign, Michiganders have been demanding that Kellogg use their joint venture partnership with palm oil giant Wilmar to urge the company to improve its palm oil sourcing policies in order to reduce deforestation and habitat loss. Wilmar has apparently gotten the message. The massive palm oil trader today announced a new policy that has the potential to shift the entire industry.
“With a massive boost from the determined advocacy of Michigan communities, Wilmar has announced it will implement a comprehensive policy to protect forests,” said Deborah Lapidus, Campaigns Director of Catapult, which works with Forest Heroes to transform the palm oil industry. “And we are told a big reason why is that Kellogg’s picked up the phone and demanded action. Thank you, Kellogg’s, for listening to your Michigan neighbors.”
If you’ve been following along here you know that Wilmar’s announcement comes after months of input from Michigan communities and families to Kellogg’s, culminating in a rally and the delivery of thousands of petitions asking Kellogg’s to demand change from its corporate partner, Wilmar. Kellogg’s did just that, and today change happened.
Wilmar’s new policy also comes on the heels of a decade of advocacy from NGOs around the world to persuade the company to adopt stronger standards..
Why all the fuss about palm oil to begin with? Well if you’re new to the campaign and this blog, the palm oil industry is currently one of the most environmentally destructive on the planet. The rapid spread of palm oil plantations is responsible for rampant deforestation, endangered species habitat loss, and severe climate and local air pollution. Though there are now hopes that today’s announcement could begin to change that.
Wilmar’s new “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation Policy” would, if implemented, catalyze a wholesale change in how palm oil is produced, and where plantations are sited.
So what exactly does the policy entail? Basically, it calls for numerous provisions to change the way commodities are sourced:
- No Deforestation: No more cutting down the rainforest for agricultural production.
- No Exploitation: Protect the rights of workers and communities, including the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
- Protects High Carbon Stock landscape: Including peatlands of any depth.
- Protects High Conservation Value forests: No more clearing of forests that are habitat for endangered species, such as orangutans, Sumatran tigers, elephants, and rhinos.
Up until now, the largely unregulated -- and rapidly growing -- industry has laid waste to more than 30,000 square miles of tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia alone. Palm oil is a $50 billion a year commodity that winds up in roughly half of all consumer goods for sale, including snacks and sweets and soaps and detergents and countless other packaged goods. Over the past decade alone, palm oil imports to the U.S. have increased nearly fivefold. The incredible loss of richly biodiverse rainforests to clearcutting also threatens the 400 or so remaining Sumatran tigers, as well as orangutans, elephants, and rhinos. Not to mention the tens of millions of people who depend on the forests to survive. Then there’s the climate impact of stripping the world of some of its most important carbon sinks. Factor in forest loss, and Indonesia is the world’s third largest source of global warming pollution.
And with a few strokes of the pen, change happens.
When you think of palm oil, you should be thinking about the industry leader Wilmar. As TFT Executive Director Scott Poynton, said today, “Few companies dominate their sectors the way Wilmar dominates palm oil, controlling 45 percent of global trade. Today’s announcement by itself transforms the industry.”
(Read more and find a list of all the media coverage after the jump.)
Huge news here on the Forest Heroes front. For months now Michiganders have been demanding that Kellogg use their relationship with palm oil giant Wilmar to urge the company to improve its sourcing practices to reduce deforestation and habitat loss. And today Wilmar made a landmark new announcement. Here's the official Forest Heroes press release, along with a couple of photos of Forest Heroes volunteers in Battle Creek and Ann Arbor.
Forest Heroes Declares Victory, Part I: TONY ROARS
Asian Agribusiness Giant Wilmar Announces Landmark New Policies After Kellogg’s Push
Battle Creek, Michigan – Today Michiganders made their power felt halfway around the world, as Asian agribusiness giant Wilmar International announced strong new responsible practices following global outcry about the impact of palm oil on Sumatran tiger habitat and the world’s tropical forests.
“Today, Tony the Tiger’s roar was heard halfway around the world,” said Deborah Lapidus, Campaigns Director of Catapult, a campaigning organization that is working with Forest Heroes to transform the palm oil industry. “With a massive boost from the determined advocacy of Michigan communities, Wilmar has announced it will implement a comprehensive policy to protect forests. And we are told a big reason why is that Kellogg’s picked up the phone and demanded action. Thank you, Kellogg’s, for listening to your Michigan neighbors.”
Wilmar’s announcement comes after months of input from Michigan communities and families on Kellogg’s, culminating in a rally and the delivery of thousands of petitions asking Kellogg’s to demand change from its corporate partner, Wilmar. Kellogg’s did just that, and change happened.
Wilmar International’s policy represents a commitment to protect forests and people. Critically, Wilmar’s policy covers not just its own plantations and those of its subsidiaries, but also those of its third party suppliers. Further, it includes strong commitments and realistic, time-limited implementation plans to protect forests, workers, communities, and carbon-rich peatlands. It provides hope to the forests that are home to endangered species like Sumatran tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinos.
“This is a grrrrrrrreeeat win,” said Emma Hyde, a student at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “But it’s only Part One. For Part Two, we hope that Kellogg’s will very soon announce its own corporate policies eliminating deforestation and exploitation from its own supply chain. And it’s surreal to say so, but Wilmar gives them a good model to follow.”
Wilmar’s announcement is available online here.
Their policy is available online here.