Kellogg's New Commitment to Only Use Environmentally Friendly Palm Oil

Feb 21, 2014 01:06 PM EST | By Dina Exil

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Palm oil is listed as the fourth ingredient in Kellogg's Eggo Buttermilk waffles, and the sixth ingredient in the food company's blueberry frosted Pop-Tarts, but even the smallest ingredients can have a big impact

According to FOX News, Kellogg Co. announced a global commitment to only buy palm oil from those that agree to protect the forests and peatlands and not destroy any tropical rain forests to produce the additive used in many processed foods.

Kellogg will require its palm oil producers to source palm oil in a way that is "environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable" by 2015. The company has also done work on "sustainable palm oil" initiatives since 2009.

"As a socially responsible company, traceable, transparent sourcing of palm oil is important to us, and we are collaborating with our suppliers to make sure the palm oil we use is not associated with deforestation, climate change or the violation of human rights," Diane Holdorf, Kellogg Co. chief sustainability officer, said in a prepared statement.

Over 30,000 miles of tropical rain forests, in Indonesia and Malaysia have been destroyed by increased palm oil harvesting, according to Catapult, a consultancy group that works on environment and social issues. The AP reported that the forests are home to endangered species such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger.

Palm oil is a $50 billion per year commodity and it is used in about half of all packaged goods. Kellogg brands include Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Special K and Pringles. Kellogg manufactures in 35 countries and sells food in over 180 countries.

The AP reported that Kellogg is thought to use about 50,000 tons of palm oil a year.  

The commitment has gained support from external stakeholders such as Green Century Capital Management, "an environmentally responsible investment advisory firm" that provides people with a chance to invest in ways that push for "environmentally responsible corporate behavior."

"Green Century is excited to support Kellogg on this important palm oil journey, which will ensure the company's core values are upheld throughout the supply chain and create long-term value for both shareholders and the environment," said Lucia von Reusner, shareholder advocate, Green Century Capital Management. "Kellogg Company's commitment to directly engage its suppliers positions them as a leader in developing sustainable palm oil."

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