General Mills Commits to Responsible Sourcing of Palm Oil
General Mills said again today that it is committed to sourcing palm oil in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
This is not the first time General Mills has stated this commitment.
General Mills has publicly expressed concern about the role of palm oil expansion in deforestation of tropical rainforests. The company has also voiced concern about the impact of deforestation on biodiversity and endangered species.
But General Mills is a relatively minor user of palm oil.
“We have analyzed our use of palm oil,” said Gene Kahn, General Mills’ global sustainability officer. “General Mills does not purchase any palm oil directly. However, we do purchase ingredients produced from palm oil from suppliers. Overall, we calculate that General Mills’ use of palm oil and palm derivatives is modest – approximately one-tenth of 1 percent of world exports.
“Nevertheless, we acknowledge that responsible users of even small amounts of ingredients can impact such issues via principled purchasing practices,” Kahn added. "As principled purchasers, we must continue to engage, monitor and collaborate with suppliers on this issue and many others – and we will continue to do so.”
General Mills has engaged suppliers directly in discussions about palm oil production. The company’s suppliers are already members and supporters of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and General Mills further reinforces the principles of the RSPO by limiting purchases only to RSPO members.
Activists have acknowledged General Mills’ positive position on the issue, said Kahn, including the company’s support for a moratorium on palm oil expansion in tropical rainforests and its direct engagement of suppliers – but continue to call on General Mills “to publicly commit to sourcing only palm oil produced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.”
With its response today, General Mills is again saying, “We have – and we do.”