General Mills 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.
In order to drive real change, General Mills should require compliance across suppliers’ entire operations, and publish a time-bound plan that includes performance-based milestones that will be need to be met to cut Conflict Palm Oil by its 2015 deadline.
Current Palm Oil Commitment (July 2014):
Requires suppliers to go beyond the inadequate standards of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and end the destruction of rainforests and peatlands
Applies to all branded products in all countries where products are made and sold
Sets an assertive deadline to source “palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources” in global operations by the end of 2015
“Traceability to the extraction mill and validation of fresh fruit bunches” to the plantation estate
Has commissioned a second-party to verify traceability to known plantations in its supply chain and conduct supplier assessments
Has a commitment to “move to suspend or eliminate palm oil purchases from [a] supplier [that is] seriously violating the stated principles...if that supplier does not acknowledge and immediately move to acceptably remediate the concern”
Has a commitment to transparent reporting on progress towards full implementation of commitment
Encourages public transparency from palm oil growers, refiners, and traders and has publicly listed its top three suppliers - ADM, Agropalma and Bunge.
Weaknesses in Palm Oil Commitment:
No requirement for compliance across suppliers’ entire operations
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 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 requirements for 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