In response to concerns, and protests, over palm oil crops’ role in rainforest deforestation, food giant Unilever has announced it will use only palm oil certified as sustainable, BusinessGreen reports.
Through a collaboration with industry group Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Unilever said it aims to trace the origins of all the palm oil it uses in Europe by 2012 and ensure that it is only sourcing certified palm oil by 2015.
As part of its efforts, Unilever CEO Patrick Cescau warned suppliers that the company would apply sanctions on those who continue to use unlawful deforestation practices in the harvesting of palm oil.
Last summer, The Body Shop said it had become the first cosmetics and toiletries retailer to introduce sustainable palm oil into the global beauty industry.
A Greenpeace representative said other large users of palm oil, such as Nestle and Procter & Gamble, should follow Unilever’s lead to the new palm oil sustainability certification.
At a recent conference, the Rainforest Action Network, which has campaigned for sustainable palm oil practices, ambushed Patricia Woertz, chairman, president and CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, over ADM’s use of palm oil from endangered forests in Southeast Asia.
In its third annual ethical reputation ranking of companies Geneva-based Covalence ranked Unilever, along with Toyota and HSBC as having consolidated their leadership with Best Ethical Quote Score.