Bakery Giant Grupo Bimbo Responds to Consumer Pressure; Leaves Laggards Behind and Adopts Responsible Palm Oil Commitment

Rainforest Action Network welcomes “step in right direction,” and calls on other companies to follow suit


CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989,

San Francisco, CA––In the face of a two-year long public campaign, and more recent increased consumer pressure mounted against manufacturers of the popular brand Sara Lee––which includes the multinational bakery products manufacturer Grupo Bimbo, as well as Hillshire Brands––for the use of the controversial ingredient Conflict Palm Oil, Grupo Bimbo announced yesterday a new palm oil commitment.

The commitment includes strong provisions on upholding workers’ rights, which is a reflection of a growing concern over labor abuses, including forced labor and human trafficking, in the palm oil sector. Grupo Bimbo’s new commitment is also notable in that it requires compliance across its suppliers’ entire operations and goes beyond the requirements set forth by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which lack strong safeguards against deforestation and has a poor track record of upholding community or workers’ rights.

“We welcome this as a step in the right direction,” said Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director with Rainforest Action Network. “For communities, palm oil workers and forests in Indonesia, what matters now is that Grupo Bimbo puts this new commitment into swift action. The real work for Grupo Bimbo begins now.

“Consumers that use Sara Lee products are still at risk of Conflict Palm Oil, however, as Grupo Bimbo needs to put its commitment into action, and Hillshire Brands, also a maker of Sara Lee products, has yet to make an adequate commitment to remove Conflict Palm Oil from its supply chain,” Tillack said.

RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil campaign, launched in the fall of 2013, calls on Grupo Bimbo and 19 other top snack food companies––dubbed the ‘Snack Food 20’––to address their use of Conflict Palm Oil connected to rainforest destruction, orangutan extinction, human rights violations and climate pollution.

Other Snack Food 20 companies have adopted ambitious deadlines to implement their palm oil commitments by year end, but Grupo Bimbo has not yet committed to a deadline for achieving compliance with its policy. RAN stands ready to work with Grupo Bimbo on an action plan to achieve rapid compliance across its suppliers’ entire operations and take focused action to address labor rights abuses and others risks in its supply chain.

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