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Unilever Alters Palm Oil Supply Chain After Greenpeace Allegations

indonesia clearcutIn response to Greenpeace alleging that one of Unilever’s supposedly sustainable palm oil providers was instead clear-cutting rain forests to grow more palms, Unilever cut ties with the provider in question.

Greenpeace had alleged that Indonesian palm oil producer PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology was illegally cutting virgin rain forest lands, reducing habitat for orangutans and gibbons, reports the Wall Street Journal. Read the Greenpeace allegations here.

Unilever has decided to move on to a different supplier to quell the negative publicity, reports AP-Food Technology.

A Unilever spokesman said that the claims were “too serious for us to ignore.”

If PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology can come forward with proof that the allegations are false, Unilever said it would reconsider its decision.

In May, Unilever, which purchases about 4 percent of all palm oil produced globally, pledged to switch to palm oil certified as sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

In October, Unilever garnered the fourth spot in Covalence’s ethical ranking of multinational companies.

Before the recent allegations about Unilever, it had been claimed that more than 250,000 tons (metric tons) of certified sustainable palm oil had been purchased (PDF) since its availability late last year, marking the first stages of a viable market for sustainable palm oil, according to the RSPO.

In September and October alone, more than 100,000 tons of palm oil or corresponding certificates were acquired by companies globally, said RSPO.

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