Mars has emerged as a front runner as it has released a responsible palm oil commitment that requires its suppliers to comply with a higher standard than the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) by ending the destruction of rainforests, peatlands and abuse of human and labor rights across their entire operations.
In order to drive real change, Mars should publish a time-bound plan that includes performance-based milestones that will be need to be met to cut Conflict Palm Oil in all products by its deadline of 2015.
Current Palm Oil Commitment (March 2014):
Requires suppliers to go beyond the inadequate standards of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and end the destruction of rainforests, peatlands and abuse of human and labor rights
Applies to all branded products in all countries where products are made and sold with the exception of ready-made products
Requires compliance across suppliers’ entire operations
Sets an assertive deadline to source only responsible palm oil in global operations by the end of 2015, but provides an option for non-compliant suppliers to work towards compliance after this deadline
“Working with all of [their] suppliers to obtain their written commitment to [their] sourcing charter by the year-end 2014. As an incentive, [they] will award business to those suppliers which share our values and apply our principles, and reconsider business with suppliers which do not."
Has commissioned a second-party to verify traceability to known plantations in its supply chain and conduct supplier assessments
Commits to annually report on progress towards the implementation of its own palm oil commitments
Advocates for palm oil sector reforms with peers and other decision makers
Weaknesses in Palm Oil Commitment:
No requirement for independent, third-party verification of supplier compliance with responsible palm oil production practices, including no destruction of rainforests, peatlands or abuse of human and labor rights
No requirement for an immediate moratorium on the destruction of rainforests and peatlands across grower entire operations
Allows non-compliant suppliers to remain in supply chain after 2015 deadline if they have an action plan in place
No published procedures to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil suppliers
No public time-bound implementation plan, with clear performance based milestones for achieving traceable, transparent and independently verified supply chains
No requirement for public transparency from palm oil growers, refiners, and traders
Ongoing sourcing from unknown plantations and high risk regions
Company products at high risk of contamination with Conflict Palm Oil