The Greenpeace report named both Hershey and Ferrero among the large companies that refused to reveal their palm oil producers.
In response, Hershey’s spokesperson Jeff Beckman said the company, which joined RSPO in 2011, has made the names of its palm oil suppliers public. However, it is not able to trace all the mills at the moment.
The company's suppliers include AAK, Cargill, Fuji Oil, Gemini, IOI Loders Croklaan (disassociated after RSPO suspended its certification due to deforestation in Indonesia in 2016), Jing Yi and Wilmar, according to Hershey’s 2016 social responsibility report.
“Hershey has also engaged in an extensive tracing exercise, working with The Forest Trust (TFT) to map the sources of our product to the mill level,” said Beckman, noting Hershey undertakes the tracing and mapping exercise twice a year.
The mapping efforts for the second half of 2017 will be published in early June 2018.
So far, Hershey has mapped 99.25% of its palm oil supply chain to the mills, and approximately 14% to the plantations.
“Our suppliers have identified more than 1,540 mills tied to our palm oil sourcing to date,” said Beckman.
However, Hershey is still working to identify if deforestation does happen in its supply chain as not all palm oil suppliers are willing to disclose their mills due to confidentiality.
“We know most of the mills, but not all of them. We do not have commercial relationships with the mills; our suppliers do and those relationships belong to the suppliers that source from the mills. Therefore, the information about the mills belongs to the suppliers, not Hershey,” Beckman explained.
“If serious issues are determined… we will take action to request remediation or we will remove a source from our supply chain.”
Greenpeace noted the production of palm oil often comes with companies clearing the land, which puts the health of people across Southeast Asia (the major supplying origin of palm oil) and global climate at risk.
It added: “neither governments nor the main industry body – the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – can currently be relied on to prevent producers from engaging in deforestation or clearing peatland.”
Ferrero said it would not comment on Greenpeace’s claims. However, the company's website said it will publicly disclose the full list of the mills it sources palm oil from by May 15, 2018.
“The list will be updated every six months,” Ferrero said.
Update: Ferrero subsequently disclosed its palm oil mills: https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2018/03/23/Nutella-maker-Ferrero-discloses-116-palm-oil-mills