Rainforest Action Network Responds to General Mills’ New Palm Oil Commitment

RAN welcomes strengthening of commitment but says thorough, rapid implementation is needed to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from its products.

SAN FRANCISCO— In the face of growing criticism over its use of the controversial food additive palm oil, General Mills released a revised palm oil sourcing commitment today. This announcement builds upon a commitment General Mills made in 2010 in response to a campaign by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which included a large banner deployed on the frozen front lawn of General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis.

General Mills has recently faced controversy due to its inability to guarantee to its customers that its products, including Cheerios, do not contain “Conflict Palm Oil” connected to rainforest destruction, human rights violations and climate pollution.

“General Mills has taken a step in the right direction, by strengthening its commitment and recognizing the need to go beyond the inadequate standards of “sustainable” palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO),” said Rainforest Action Network senior forest campaigner Gemma Tillack. “For communities and orangutans in Indonesia what matters now is that General Mills puts this commitment into action with thorough and rapid implementation.”

General Mills new commitment requires its suppliers to provide the company with palm oil from suppliers whose operations are legal, traceable and have not led to the destruction of rainforests, carbon-rich peatlands or the violation human rights including the use of forced and child labor.

This announcement follows the release of strengthened palm oil purchasing policies from other major consumer companies including Unilever, Nestle, Kellogg and Mars, who have all been dubbed as members of the ‘Snack Food 20’ by Rainforest Action Network. RAN’s Conflict Palm Oil campaign, which was launched in the fall of 2013, calls on General Mills and 19 other top snack food companies to address their use of Conflict Palm Oil connected to deforestation, orangutan extinction, human rights abuses and climate pollution.

For more info: The full report titled ‘Conflict Palm Oil: How US Snack Food Brands are Contributing to Orangutan Extinction, Climate Change and Human Rights Violations’ can be downloaded here: http://ran.org/conflict-palm-oil

*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.