Mars Inc. Responds to Palm Oil Controversy With New Global Commitment

Rainforest Action Network Applauds ‘Important Step Forward,’ Calls for Real Action

San Francisco, CA- Following months of public campaigning and private negotiations with Rainforest Action Network (RAN), international food giant Mars Inc. today announced a sweeping new responsible palm oil procurement commitment. The new requirement demands that all palm oil companies supplying the US$30 billion company eliminate rainforest destruction, human rights violations and climate pollution from their supply chains or be dropped by 2015.

In response to Mars Inc.’s announcement, Gemma Tillack, Senior Agribusiness Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network, issued the following statement.

“Today’s announcement is a victory for the people and wildlife of Indonesia and Malaysia. Mars’ has taken an important first step forward by publicly declaring it will only source palm oil from companies who are not clearing rainforests, destroying carbon-rich peatlands or causing human rights violations. This commitment is a milestone in the larger effort to transform the destructive practices the palm oil industry has become notorious for.

It is now urgent that Mars put its words into action to create the real change it seeks. A public commitment is not the same as a binding, time-bound policy and it is crucial that Mars follow through by rapidly developing and thoroughly implementing a plan to truly eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products.

The company is demanding that its suppliers like Cargill, adopt the same strong commitments and only supply it responsible palm oil, or be dropped. In the face of growing criticism over their use of Conflict Palm Oil, a number of the “Snack Food 20*” group of companies targeted by Rainforest Action Network have begun to take similar action. Mars now joins Nestle, Unilever, Kellogg and Mondelez in delivering the same message to Cargill and other suppliers.

The writing is on the wall: Cargill needs to get in line with other Traders like Wilmar International and Golden Agri Resources (GAR) who have set new benchmarks for responsible palm oil production or risk losing some of its most important customers.”

For more information see RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil report.

*The “Snack Food 20” group of companies are Campbell Soup Company; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc.; General Mills, Inc.; Grupo Bimbo; Hillshire Brands Company; H.J. Heinz Company; Hormel Foods Corporation; Kellogg Company; Kraft Food Group, Inc.; Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Corp.; Mars Inc.; Mondelez International, Inc.; Nestle. S.A.; Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd.; PepsiCo, Inc.; The Hershey Company; The J.M. Smucker Company; Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.; and Unilever.