Rainforest Action Network Welcomes Cargill’s Palm Oil Announcement

For Immediate Release

Rainforest Action Network Welcomes Cargill’s Palm Oil Announcement

Ag giant on the way to more responsible palm oil, but still short of true sustainability

SAN FRANCISCO - Today, major palm oil trader Cargill announced a new agreement to
provide Unilever with palm oil that is certified as segregated "at every
step of the supply chain." Both Unilever and Cargill are members of the
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Since 2007, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has been running a market
campaign targeted at Cargill because of the company's poor record of
growing and trading palm oil linked to rainforest destruction and other
egregious environmental and social practices. In response to this
unprecedented announcement, Leila Salazar-Lopez, Rainforest Agribusiness
Campaign Director, released the following statement:

"Today, Cargill and Unilever are proving that it is possible to
differentiate between palm oil that destroys rainforests and palm oil
that is produced in a more environmentally responsible manner. What they
have not yet proven is that it's possible to produce palm oil and stop
destroying forests altogether."

"We're encouraged to see that Cargill and Unilever are teaming up to
show the industry that certified sustainable palm can be achieved.
Cargill is showing that it is capable of providing fully traceable palm
oil from RSPO certified sources and Unilever is showing that customers
will follow through on their commitments to purchase palm oil at a
higher cost, if assured that it is certified sustainable by the RSPO. We
remain concerned, however, that the RSPO's standards are not yet strong
enough to assure customers that this palm oil is entirely free from
forest destruction or other environmental damage."

"While segregated palm oil is a step in the right direction, it is
only part of the solution. Cargill needs to demonstrate that their
segregated palm oil is from a credible and responsible source."

"Additionally, we encourage Cargill to clean up its entire supply
chain, and to make certified segregated palm oil available to all of
their customers, particularly those in the U.S. This is particularly
important because today's Unilever commitment accounts for only 10,000
metric tones, a tiny percentage of the total volumes of palm oil that
Cargill trades every year."

"As long as Cargill continues to buy from disreputable companies like
the Sinar Mas Group, their customers cannot be sure that their
purchases are untainted by forest destruction. And, until certification
schemes like the RSPO prove that their standards are being consistently
implemented on the ground, supply segregation cannot completely insure
that the palm oil provided does not come from plantations that have
recently replaced rainforests or been stolen from local communities."

In May, RAN released a report
detailing Cargill's problems with palm oil in Borneo. Since that time,
Cargill has instituted several measures intended to clean up their palm
oil supply chain. These include: engagement with customers including
Kraft and General Mills; the initiation of a supply chain audit
in collaboration with WWF; and last week's announcement of a planned
August assessment of their Harapan Sawit Lestari (HSL) plantation in
Borneo.

RAN's response to these measures can be found on our blog: More information on RAN's campaign can be found at www.theproblemwithpalmoil.org

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Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is headquarted in San Francisco, California with offices staff in Tokyo, Japan, and Edmonton, Canada, plus thousands of volunteer scientists, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens around the world. We believe that a sustainable world can be created in our lifetime, and that aggressive action must be taken immediately to leave a safe and secure world for our children.  

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