September 23/Minneapolis/News Bites - U.S. Markets -- In its "Statement on Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing" on GeneralMills.com, the company said its objective is "to help ensure our purchases are not associated in any way with deforestation of the world's rainforests -- and to further reinforce the development of certified sustainable palm oil production practices."
General Mills said its use of palm oil is modest -- about one-tenth of 1% of world production. "Nevertheless, we acknowledge that responsible users of even small amounts of ingredients can impact issues via principled purchasing practices."
The statement outlines several key elements of the company's commitment to responsible sourcing of palm oil. General Mills expresses concern about the role of palm oil expansion in the deforestation of the world's rainforests, for example, and about the impact of deforestation on biodiversity, endangered species, greenhouse gas emissions and indigenous peoples.
General Mills also states its support for a moratorium on the destruction of high-conservation value (HCV) forests and high-carbon value landscapes -- such as draining of peat-lands, for expansion of palm oil production -- and pledges to never knowingly source palm oil produced through palm oil expansion resulting in deforestation or destruction of such vulnerable ecosystems.
"This is an urgent issue for the planet we share,"; said General Mills' chief sustainability officer Jerry Lynch. "The increase in global demand for palm oil is putting pressure on some of the world's most valuable rainforest ecosystems.
"Our work with environmental organizations, including Rainforest Action Network, helped focus us on this important issue. By addressing responsible palm oil sourcing publicly and directly, we hope to provide leadership with peers and suppliers on the need to produce palm oil in an environmentally and socially responsible way."
As part of its commitment, General Mills has integrated environmentally and socially responsible palm oil production into its assessment of suppliers, including direct review of their palm oil production and sourcing practices.
General Mills also outlined its response should a supplier seriously violate Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) policies involving destruction of high-conservation value rainforest. "If the supplier does not acknowledge and immediately move to acceptably remediate the concern," it states, "General Mills will move to suspend or eliminate palm oil purchases from the supplier in question.
"Our objective is clear: General Mills will strive to source 100% of our palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015."
From the September 27, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
For more of the latest news from the food and beverage industry, visit Prepared Foods' Daily News