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Mars commits to palm oil deforestation policy

By Caroline Scott-Thomas+

12-Mar-2014

Mars commits to palm oil deforestation policy

Mars has committed to ending deforestation associated with its palm oil supply by the end of 2015, becoming the latest multinational to do so, alongside Unilever and Nestlé, among others.

Under its new policy, Mars said it would require all of its suppliers to have fully sustainable and traceable palm oil supply by the end of 2015, or to have such plans in place by the end of 2015. The company also announced that it had joined The Forest Trust (TFT) to help in its aim to prevent deforestation.

Since 2010, the company has bought all its palm oil as 100% certified under the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) ‘mass balance’ system, which allows it to pay for a certain volume of certified oil without physical segregation along the supply chain.

“We have recognised that even though we have already implemented a 100% certified supply of palm oil this is not enough,” said chief sustainability officer at Mars, Inc. Barry Parkin. “We believe that these additional measures will not only help build a genuinely sustainable pipeline for Mars, but will also help accelerate change across the industry by encouraging our suppliers to only source from companies whose plantations and farms are responsibly run.”

Greenpeace welcomed Mars’ move, saying that its timeline was ambitious, and that it was important the company had moved beyond RSPO standards, which are less strict on deforestation.

“Mars joins a growing list of companies including Unilever and Nestlé that are finally promising forest-friendly products to their consumers,” said forest campaigner at Greenpeace International Areeba Hamid. “It shows that global public pressure is working.”

Earlier this month, palm oil supplier Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) joined supplier Wilmar in committing to forest conservation. The two companies together account for about 55% of total global palm oil supply.

As well as palm oil, Mars said it would also focus on eliminating deforestation in its supply chains for beef, pulp and paper, and soy.

The Mars palm oil policy is available online here .

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