Unilever and Wilmar International, a major palm oil company, have signed a “no deforestation” deal that commits Wilmar to producing more sustainable products.
As part of the memorandum of understanding with Unilever, Wilmar launched a “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” policy that the company says establishes mechanisms to ensure that both Wilmar’s own plantations and companies from which Wilmar sources will only provide products that are free from links to deforestation or abuse of human rights and local communities. It includes measures to protect high carbon stock such as peatlands and high conservation value landscapes.
Wilmar also announced that it will become a member of The Forest Trust.
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.
Also this week, 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 including Unilever and Wilmar urging them to adopt policies that would ensure palm oil development does not contribute to deforestation, development on peatlands, or human rights violations.