General Mills Moves Away From Rainforest Destruction

For Immediate Release

General Mills Moves Away From Rainforest Destruction

Benchmark policy signals emerging trend away from controversial palm oil

WASHINGTON - America’s favorite food company, General Mills (GIS), is taking a
crucial step to protect rainforests today, with the release of a new
palm oil policy that limits the company’s exposure to an increasingly
controversial commodity. The company’s new policy, along with previous
actions to move away from problematic suppliers like Sinar Mas Group,
puts them in the front of efforts by the U.S. food sector to address
deforestation resulting from palm oil. Kraft and Burger King have also
announced initial steps to ensure that they are not sourcing ingredients
that damage the rainforest.  

The new palm oil procurement policy includes specific commitments on
critical issues including respect for the rights of Indigenous
communities, prevention of further destruction of endangered rainforests
and protection of peatlands, a major source of climate change causing
emissions from palm oil production. In addition, General Mills has set a
goal of “sourcing 100 percent responsible and sustainable palm oil” by
2015, setting a new bar for the American food industry.

General Mills’ full policy can be found at: http://www.generalmills.com/Responsibility/Sourcing/palm_oil_statement.aspx

“Rainforest destruction is not an acceptable ingredient in America’s
food supply,” said Ashley Schaeffer of Rainforest Action Network (RAN),
“We hope that General Mills’ actions will serve as a wake-up call for
others in the food industry.”   

With General Mills’ adoption of its new policy, RAN is ending its
campaign, confirming General Mills leadership in the growing corporate
effort to move away from controversial palm oil in the United States. As
a company with some of the most beloved brands in the nation, including
Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Hamburger Helper, General Mills’ decision
to address deforestation in its supply chain is a major industry signal
that unsustainable palm oil expansion practices are a problem that can
and should be addressed. RAN will continue working with General Mills on
the ongoing implementation of the new policy.

 “Our work with environmental organizations, including Rainforest
Action Network, helped focus us on this important issue,” said Jerry
Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer of General Mills in a press
statement also released today. “By addressing it very directly in a
publicly stated policy, we hope to provide leadership with peers and
with our suppliers on the need to source palm oil in an environmentally
and socially responsible way.”

General Mills’ full press statement can be found at: http://www.generalmills.com/Media/NewsReleases/Library/2010/September/pa...

Along with the actions of other U.S and multinational food companies,
General Mills’ new policy demonstrates that there is an increasing
demand for sustainable palm oil in the U.S. marketplace.

“America’s largest importer of palm oil, Cargill, has yet to take
sufficient action to meet this demand or to clean up its own palm oil
supply chain,” continued Schaeffer of RAN. “Although the agribusiness
giant has taken initial steps to do so in Europe, it has failed to bring
RSPO certified segregated palm oil to the United States, and it
continues to source palm oil from some of the worst suppliers in the
business.”

Palm oil is one of the most commonly found ingredients in thousands
of consumer products, from soap and lipstick, to breakfast cereal and
soymilk. Its use is widespread and increasing around the world,
including the U.S, where its consumption has tripled in the last five
years. Palm oil has been tightly linked to the destruction of some of
the world’s most endangered rainforest. Expanding consumption has
triggered expanded production, replacing rainforests with palm oil
plantations and endangering unique species including orangutans and sun
bears.

RAN has been running market campaigns to reduce the impact of
American purchases of palm oil on the Indonesian rainforest since 2007.
More information on RAN’s palm oil campaigns 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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