Colgate-Palmolive Latest Company to Jump on Deforestation-Free Palm Oil Bandwagon

Statement by Sharon Smith, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Mar 24, 2014 Updated Aug 24, 2014

BERKELEY, Calif. (March 24, 2014) – Just days after General Mills committed to sourcing deforestation-free palm oil, Colgate-Palmolive today released its palm oil sourcing policy. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), major companies are essential to preventing deforestation, which is responsible for about 10 percent of all global warming emissions.

Palm oil is used in everything from food and fuel to beauty products and cleaning agents. As palm oil has become a common ingredient in many household produces, the dramatic rise in demand for palm oil is driving increases in deforestation.

UCS recently graded the palm oil sourcing commitments of 30 top companies, including Colgate-Palmolive. The scorecard found that 24 of these household brands have inadequate commitments or lack commitments altogether. Colgate-Palmolive’s new policy will help raise its score, which was only 44.9 out of 100 when the scorecard was released earlier this month.

Below is a statement by Sharon Smith, campaign manager with UCS’s Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative:

“Major consumer goods companies, like Colgate-Palmolive, are the linchpin to transforming the palm oil industry. It’s wonderful to see major brands step up and demand deforestation-free palm oil. We’ve seen that when consumers speak out, companies listen, and when the companies demand better palm oil, producers on the ground follow suit. Not only will this improved process reduce emissions, but it’s also a win for consumers.

“Colgate-Palmolive’s policy to source responsible palm oil is a vast improvement. They scored high marks for committing to protect peatlands, carbon-rich areas of decayed vegetation, as well as High Carbon Stock forests, areas of critically important forests.

“It’s also great to see that Colgate-Palmolive expects its palm oil suppliers will apply the company’s new policy across all parts of their operations. We’re thrilled with the comprehensive nature of this commitment.

“The one defect in Colgate-Palmolive’s plan is their timetable. The company plans to fully implement this commitment by 2020—that’s six years of climate emissions from deforestation and peatland conversion as well as labor violations that the company will condone before they demand full compliance with the policy.

“While the commitment itself is looking good, Colgate-Palmolive should speed up the implementation timetable.”