Victory: Kellogg’s Announces New Palm Oil Commitment, Will Help Save Sumatran Tigers

By Joel Finkelstein
Forests & Lands, Political Strategy

Battle Creek, MI and Washington, DC – Forest advocates and Michigan citizens today credited Kellogg’s with adopting a new commitment that would make Tony the Tiger proud. The move follows months of action on the ground in Kellogg’s home state of Michigan by hundreds of volunteers with the Forest Heroes campaign, who urged the company to go deforestation-free.

“Kellogg’s new commitment is grrrrrrrreeeat!” said Deborah Lapidus, Climate Advisers Outreach Director, which works with the Forest Heroes campaign to transform the palm oil industry. “Kellogg’s is sending a strong message to palm oil producers that traceable, deforestation-free and exploitation-free palm oil are core conditions for global market access. This action sends a signal that major traders like Cargill need to step up to meet the growing demand for responsible palm oil.”

Palm oil is a $50 billion a year additive commonly used in cookies, baked goods, and other processed foods, and Kellogg’s is a significant buyer. Palm oil plantations are driving widespread destruction of tropical rainforests – pushing wildlife like Sumatran tigers and orangutans to the edge of extinction and adding enormous climate pollution to the atmosphere. But with its new commitment, Kellogg’s is saying palm oil that destroys rainforests doesn’t meet the company’s values and will soon no longer be accepted.

The new commitment announced late Friday includes provisions that make the iconic company a world-class leader in protecting forests by sourcing responsible palm oil. As stated in Kellogg’s press release, the company is requiring suppliers to adhere to the following principles, with a target date of December 31, 2015:

  • No deforestation: Suppliers must protect forests, endangered species habitat, lands with high carbon content, and peatland of any depth, going beyond the inadequate requirements of current roundtable-derived standards.
  • No exploitation: Suppliers are required to protect human and community rights, including land tenure rights and obtaining Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from communities to all development on their lands.
  • Traceability: Kellogg is working with suppliers to trace all of its palm oil back to known plantation sources.

“Our palm oil campaign has sparked a tremendous response from our three million members around the world,” said Paul Ferris, Campaign Manager with the global consumer watchdog SumOfUs.org. “Saving forests is a mission that inspires millions of people. Thank you, Kellogg’s, for listening – and acting.”

“Kellogg’s decided to become a Forest Hero,” said Jez Vedua, a Battle Creek resident, dietician, and volunteer with the Forest Heroes campaign. “Kellogg has truly shown that from great starts come great things. After helping change the global palm oil sector last month, today they put their own house in order. Once this commitment is backed up by a policy and implemented in full, consumers can be sure Kellogg’s cereal and other products aren’t made from palm oil grown by destroying rainforests.”

“Kellogg’s has aligned its practices with its values of environmental and social responsibility,” said Madison Vorva, who seven years ago, at age eleven, launched a campaign together with her friend Rhiannon Tomtishen to get palm oil sourced from orangutan habitat out of Girl Scout cookies which are baked by Kellogg’s. “As a Michigander and Kellogg’s customer, I want to thank Kellogg’s for taking a stand to prevent deforestation and the extinction of real ‘Tony the tigers’ and orangutans in the wild.”

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Background

  • Friday’s announcement is the second time Kellogg’s has shown global leadership in recent months to eliminate deforestation in the palm oil industry. After months of hearing from customers and thousands of Forest Heroes volunteers in Kellogg’s home state of Michigan, the company used its influence to urge its joint venture partner Wilmar International – the world’s largest palm oil company – to adopt a policy to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. Wilmar did just that in December when it announced a “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” policy to protect forests and people throughout its supply chain. As Wilmar controls 45 percent of the global palm oil supply, Kellogg’s work to influence Wilmar has the potential to foster a wholesale transformation of the palm oil industry.
  • While Kellogg’s commitment stands out for its strength, the announcement is part of a trend of major global consumer companies such as Nestlé, Mondelēz, Unilever, Hershey’s, Ferrero Rocher, Reckitt Benckiser and others indicating their movement toward deforestation free supply chains.
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On February 18, 2014

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