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Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Suspends Nestlé Over Lax Reporting

sustainable palm oil
(Photo Credit: oneVillage Initiative, Flickr Creative Commons)

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has suspended Nestlé’s membership over the company’s failure to submit an annual progress report for 2016, and for delivering a 2017 report without the required time-bound plan for working toward sustainable palm oil.

“It is compulsory for members to communicate their commitment by submitting the ACOP [Annual Communications of Progress] reports annually as required under the Code of Conduct for Members 2017,” the palm oil industry not-for-profit organization said. “Nestlé was given the opportunity to complete its ACOP report for 2017 through active engagement, and has declined to submit a time-bound plan.”

Nestlé also has a $2,336 (€2,000) unpaid and overdue membership fee, which counts as a breach of the RSPO statutes.

For the Annual Communication on Progress reporting, RSPO members must specify how they are working toward producing or buying certified sustainable palm oil, applying any RSPO-approved supply chain mechanisms, or making any commitments to above-average proportions of trade or investment volumes in comparison to production or demand trends.

The reports detail which steps the member took the previous year, the ones they intend to take in the coming year, and what they anticipate doing over the long-term as outlined in a time-bound plan.

Suspension means that the company no longer has voting rights at RSPO General Assemblies, cannot become or continue to be a member of any task force or working group at the organization, or claim membership and use of certified sustainable palm oil. Nestlé’s suspension extends to its subsidiaries Nestlé Australia and CPUK Bromborough.

Palm oil production has long carried numerous risks such as deforestation and forced labor, prompting major companies to focus on sustainable palm oil sourcing within their supply chains. The RSPO’s extensive list of membership consumer goods and manufacturing companies includes Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft Heinz, L’Oréal, Mars, Inc., Mondelez International, PepsiCo, Seventh Generation, Clorox Company, the Estée Lauder Companies, the Hershey Company, and Unilever.

In announcing Nestlé’s suspension, RSPO stated that they will grant the company a period of 30 days from June 27, 2018 to communicate the suspension to their customers, allowing them to seek alternatives. “After this 30-day period,” the nonprofit says, “Nestlé certificates will automatically cease to be valid and trading of CSPO [certified sustainable palm oil] will no longer be available via PalmTrace.”

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