Palm Oil Scorecard: Ranking America’s Biggest Brands on Their Commitment to Deforestation-Free Palm Oil (2014)
You may not realize it, but palm oil is everywhere. Demand for this inexpensive, versatile vegetable oil has skyrocketed in recent years, and it can be found in thousands of common consumer products, from cookies to toothpaste.
While it may be cheap in economic terms, however, palm oil carries a high environmental price tag. As conventionally produced, palm oil drives tropical forest and peatland destruction, wiping out habitat for endangered species and contributing to climate change.
The new standard: deforestation-free palm oil
The good news is that palm oil doesn't have to come with these unacceptable impacts. New industry standards show that palm oil can be produced in a way that protects tropical forests, peatlands, and our atmosphere—and some companies in the palm oil supply chain have begun to commit to the new standards.
The bad news is that these forward-looking companies are still in the minority. Many more are relying on the inadequate standards set by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), while some companies have yet to commit to any palm oil standards.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Tell America’s biggest brands to use deforestation-free palm oil
Each year, more and more palm oil plantations destroy tropical forests, resulting in increased carbon emissions that cause global warming. Demand that America’s biggest brands address the climate and deforestation risks associated with their palm oil purchases.
How the 30 biggest companies scored
To highlight the limitations of current efforts and persuade more companies to adhere to the new industry standards, UCS analyzed the 10 largest firms in each of three different sectors—packaged food, personal care, and fast food—and scored them on the extent of their global commitments to use palm oil that is deforestation-free, peat-free, and traceably and transparently sourced.
The results for all 30 companies are detailed in our report, Donuts, Deodorant, and Deforestation: Scoring America's Top Brands on Their Palm Oil Commitments. Company rankings are shown in the tables below. For detailed descriptions of our findings and recommendations for each company, click on the company name or visit the Palm Oil Scorecard: Company Profiles page.
DF = deforestation-free; PF = peat-free; Tc = traceability;
Tp = transparency; EA = early action.
|= Full commitment||= Some commitment||= Little commitment||= No commitment|
Packaged food companies
|Nestlé||Toll House, PowerBar|
|Unilever||Ben & Jerry's, Popsicle, SlimFast|
|Mondelēz||Oreo, Ritz, Nutter Butter|
|General Mills*||Pillsbury, Nature Valley|
|Heinz||Ore-Ida, Smart Ones|
|ConAgra*||Act II popcorn, Marie Callender's|
|Kraft||Cool Whip, JELL-O|
Personal care companies
|L'Oréal||The Body Shop, Kiehl's, Lancôme|
|Reckitt Benckiser||Calgon, Clearasil|
|Henkel||Dial, Right Guard|
|Colgate-Palmolive*||Softsoap, Irish Spring|
|Procter & Gamble*||CoverGirl, Old Spice|
|Estée Lauder||Clinique, Bumble and bumble|
Fast food companies
|CKE Restaurants||Carl's Jr./Green Burrito, Hardee's/Red Burrito|
|Dunkin' Brands*||Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts|
|Yum! Brands||KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell|
*Indicates that company has revised its palm oil policies since January 15, 2014, when data gathering for this report was finalized. See company profile for details.