Care2 community, pat yourselves on the back. After a prolonged campaign to convince Kellogg’s to stop using palm oil that comes from companies that employ tactics of deforestation, the food giant has pledged to obtain palm oil from only sustainable sources, reports Bloomberg.
In a statement on its website, Kellogg’s says it will soon independently confirm that 100% of its palm oil suppliers meet both local laws and a high standard of environmentalism by 2016. Though this step is not the first the company has taken to mitigate the effects of the palm oil industry, it is the one that demands the most accountability for all involved parties.
Given the destruction palm oil production leaves in its wake, 2016 cannot come soon enough. In order to harvest palm oil, companies have cleared large portions of irreplaceable rainforest, thereby lowering eco-diversity and contributing to global warming.
This deforestation also means a loss of habitat for endangered species. Creatures like the orangutan, as well as tigers, elephants and rhinoceroses, are in peril after losing their homes and sources of food. Often, the deforestation devastates humans, as well. Indigenous communities are seeing their ways of life ruined after big palm oil companies “buy” their land from the government and leave its inhabitants without the resources they’ve relied on for centuries.
These sad stories have inspired a number of petitions here at Care2. A few of them specifically addressed Kellogg’s – “Kellogg! Stop the Greenwash and Deforestation and Use Sustainable Palm Oil Now!”, “Help Stop the Use of Palm Oil!”, and “Save the Sumatran Tiger” – and the thousands of signatures undoubtedly helped put the pressure on the company to change its practices.
The head of sustainability at Kellogg’s, Diane Holdorf, said, “As a socially responsible company, traceable, transparent sourcing of palm oil is important to us, and we are collaborating with our suppliers to make sure the palm oil we use is not associated with deforestation, climate change or the violation of human rights.”
While the decision is a victory for the activist community, there’s still plenty of work to be done to protect the rainforests and endangered animals from the palm oil industry. Although it’s a large one, Kellogg’s is but one company that uses palm oils in its food products. Due to the fact that palm oil is the most popular vegetable oil in the world, illicit, environmentally destructive harvesting will continue in order to meet the high demand, particularly on behalf of companies who have no standards on obtaining the oil.