February 14, 2014

Kellogg’s Commits to Deforestation-Free Palm Oil

Statement by Sharon Smith, Union of Concerned Scientists

BERKELEY (Feb. 14, 2014) – Today Kellogg’s, the cereal giant, released a commitment to sourcing palm oil that is deforestation-free. Kellogg’s announcement is a step in the right direction, especially after the company was harangued in 2012 for not working with two Girl Scouts who were working towards deforestation-free Girl Scout Cookies. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is optimistic that Kellogg’s commitment will put the company, and their famous Thin Mints, on tract towards reducing climate emissions and selling consumers a product that won’t harm the environment.

Palm oil is used in everything from food and fuel to beauty products and cleaning agents. The demand for palm oil has risen dramatically. Such increases in demand are driving increases in deforestation. Ten percent of all global warming emissions result from deforestation. This practice also destroys irreplaceable forests that are home to endangered species and a resource for forest-dependent communities.

Below is a statement by Sharon Smith, campaign manager with UCS’s Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative:
“This is a gold star day for Kellogg’s. Their efforts to source sustainable deforestation-free palm oil will help pull the industry towards palm oil that is deforestation-free.

“The commitment goes on to address peatlands, carbon-rich areas of decayed vegetation. Kellogg’s expressly notes that it will work to protect peatlands and not develop these areas, period. We were also pleased to see the Kellogg’s intends to guard High Carbon Stock forest, areas storing a great deal of carbon.

“Though the cereal company’s ingredients and climate change might seem like apples and oranges, the reduction of climate change emissions from palm oil production is directly dependent on the demand for this oil. If companies start demanding palm oil that doesn’t contribute to deforestation, isn’t grown on peatlands and doesn’t exploit human rights, palm oil producers on the ground will start to provide a better product. This better oil will ultimately protect our environment by reducing emissions.

“We hope that the commitments Kellogg’s outlined soon become industry requirements. We’d like to see all palm oil producers making oils with these values and companies walk away from suppliers that cannot prove their palm oil is deforestation-free, peat-free and conflict-free.

“So far, Kellogg’s is riding high. But the real question is whether the company is moving fast enough and aggressively enough to make this commitment a reality in time to address a rapidly changing climate?”