Unilever, Kellogg, Dunkin Donuts and General Mills are among the companies facing pressure from investors to adopt policies that would ensure palm oil development does not contribute to deforestation, development on peatlands, or human rights violations.
In an effort coordinated by Green Century Capital Management, a coalition of institutional investors from the US and Europe representing about $270 billion in assets under management sent letters to 40 major palm oil producers, financiers and consumers.
Companies receiving the letter are: Wilmar International, P.T. Musim Mas, Golden Agri Resources, Sime Darby, Felda Global Venture, Kuala Lumpur Kepong, Cargill, Asian Agri, Agropalma, Daabon, New Britain Palm Oil, HSBC, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group, Standard Chartered, Rabobank, Deutsche Bank, Dunkin Donuts, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Hillshire Brands, H.J. Heinz, Hormel Foods, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, Krispy Kreme, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestle, Nissin Foods, PepsiCo, The Hershey Company, J.M. Smucker Company and Toyo Suisan Kaisha.
About 85 percent of palm oil is grown in Indonesia and Malaysia, and is a leading driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss in those nations, Green Century Capital Management says.
Last month Unilever pledged that all of the palm oil the company buys globally will be traceable to known sources by the end of 2014. The company is one of the world’s major buyers of palm oil for use in products such as margarine, ice cream, soap and shampoo. It purchases around 1.5 million metric tons of palm oil and its derivatives annually, which represents about 3 percent of the world’s total production, the company says.