Statement of Scott Paul
Director, Forest Heroes Campaign
“Instant ramen noodles are cheap, delicious and contain more palm oil by weight than any other product on the market. However for years manufacturers have been importing palm oil that too often has resulted in forest destruction, purchased from companies that have expanded their production by cutting down rainforests, draining carbon-rich peatlands and exploiting local communities. Today, this may begin to change.
“AAK, a leading producer of value added vegetable oils headquartered in Sweden, which this summer bought California Oils, a major supplier of palm oil into the United States, has announced that it will apply its palm sustainability policy, incorporating a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation commitment, to its new subsidiary. California Oils has long supplied palm oil to the U.S. food industry, which includes manufacturers Toyo Suisan, Nissin, Sanyo Foods and Nongshim, together accounting for 84 percent of the U.S. instant noodle market. These same four companies have a minimum instant noodles global market share of 22%.
“Forest Heroes will soon be issuing a comprehensive report detailing palm oil use in the manufacturing of instant noodles and will call for greater leadership from the global instant noodles manufacturing sector to ensure that they are not inadvertently fueling forest destruction in their procurement of palm oil. The report identifies historically controversial companies such as Malaysian palm oil giants Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) and IOI Group as suppliers to U.S. instant noodles manufacturers via California Oils. Forest Heroes began dialogue with AAK shortly after its purchase of California Oils, which was previously owned by Mitsubishi, also the parent company of Sanyo Foods, the maker of Sapporo Ichiban instant noodles and one of the top four U.S. brands.”
AAK commented: “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation is core to the palm sustainability policy of AAK. Following AAK’s acquisition of California Oils Corporation the acquired company will adopt and implement the group policies of AAK, including the policy relating to sustainable palm oil sourcing. This will enable current and future customers of California Oils who have not already done so to adopt similar sustainability policies and/or progress on their implementation.”