Nestlé refutes palm oil accusations

By Dan Colombini contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé has defended its use of palm oil however, confirming that it was working with GAR to ensure sustainable and ethical methods were adopted.
Nestlé has defended its use of palm oil however, confirming that it was working with GAR to ensure sustainable and ethical methods were adopted.

Related tags: Finance, Food safety

Food manufacturing multi-national Nestlé has refuted allegations from an environmental group that illegally-sourced palm oil had made its way into the supply chains of major consumer brands.

A Rainforest Action Network (RAN) investigation showed Asia-based palm oil traders Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) and Musim Mas Group bought oil from two mills that sourced palm fruit from a small, privately-owned plantation on Sumatra island in Indonesia.

Singapore-listed GAR and Indonesia's Musim Mas supply - either directly, or indirectly - companies including Unilever, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Mondelez International, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars and The Hershey Co, a report from RAN said.

Nestlé has defended its use of palm oil however, confirming that it was working with GAR to ensure sustainable and ethical methods were adopted.

“We are aware of the investigation by RAN,”​ a spokeswoman told Food Manufacture​. “We immediately engaged with our supplier GAR, which requires all its supplier mills to establish traceability-to-plantation and to identify all the independent plantations and smallholders from which they source.

“Additionally, they also conducted verification on the ground. GAR confirmed that these two mills—PT Global Sawit Semesta and PT Samudera Sawit Nabati—do not source palm oil from plantations engaged in deforestation activities in the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve. We continue to monitor this closely with our supplier.”

Opposed to deforestation

Nestlé also stressed it was opposed to deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats around the world. 

“For the last ten years, we have been using a combination of tools, including supply chain mapping, certification, satellite monitoring and on-the-ground verification, to ensure that the commodities we buy are not linked to deforestation​. 100% of Nestlé palm oil supply chain is now monitored by Starling satellite technology.”

The subject of palm oil continues to be a controversial and complex issue. Shared responsibility dominates discussion, with suppliers, processors, retailers and environmental activists hotly debating its sustainability and use.

Commentators have urged more collaboration between all stakeholders as many remain concerned about the limits on sustainable supplies and how this could impact the whole supply chain.

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1 comment

RAN Report fails to acknowledge the real challenges in Rawa Singkil

Posted by Anita Neville,

RAN's report alleges but does not prove that Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) is sourcing from mills sourcing illegally farmed fresh fruit bunches. The company does not have a large sourcing footprint in the area but because of its importance from an ecological perspective we have consistently engaged with suppliers in the region.

Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) sees progress and remains committed to engagement with our suppliers in Aceh to help them overcome the specific challenges of the region, contrary to the allegations in the latest report from the Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

Details of our efforts, including Traceability to Plantation can be found here: https://goldenagri.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/GAR-Media-Statement-RAN-report-UPDATE.pdf

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