Danone commits to zero-deforestation palm oil

Multinational food supplier Danone has pledged to buy all of its palm oil from known and traceable sources by the end of 2015 as part of its target to become completely deforestation and exploitation-free.

The French firm, which owns a number of global brands including Cow & Gate, Actimel and Volvic, has joined The Forest Trust (TFT) as a palm oil member and the two organisations have begun with ‘Phase 1’ by producing a detailed map of all of Danone’s palm oil suppliers.

“Danone is a worldwide brand, so the fact it has both a palm oil policy and the will to implement it demonstrates that big businesses can work towards successfully operating responsible supply chains,” said TFT’s Florie Loth, who heads up palm oil projects for many European companies.

Danone will now start to use the information gathered from mapping to drive transformation within its supply chain.

The transparency that comes from mapping will give Danone an accurate picture of any changes suppliers need to implement to reach this commitment. Danone is fully prepared to support suppliers, but it will not continue to use suppliers who show no signs of progress when it comes to better practice.

‘Phase 2’ will use the results of the supply chain assessment to ensure that sources commit to practices meeting responsible palm oil criteria.

“Danone wants to support growers that are genuinely committed to better practices,” said the company. “If there is no progress, we will look for different sources able to meet our requirements.”

Globally, Danone is a relatively modest user of palm oil, purchasing a total of 31,000 metric tonnes in 2013 or around 0.05% of world production.

The company remians on track to buy 100% segregated oil certified to Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards by the end of 2014.

Luke Nicholls

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie