Unilever has suspended all contracts with one of its palm oil suppliers over claims of deforestation.
In what is arguably the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) most significant intervention in its 12-year history, the organisation has suspended the certification of one of its founding members, IOI, a Malaysian palm oil company which supplies palm oil to more than 300 companies. Mars and Kellogg’s have also dropped the supplier.
This means that IOI and its trading division IOI Loders Croklaan will be temporarily prevented from selling palm oil it produces post suspension as certified sustainable.
RSPO suspended IOI Group’s certification following a complaint concerning land clearing and deep peat clearance. Unilever said: “This suspension puts IOI in breach of our policy. In line with our grievance procedure, we are now in the process of disengaging with the supplier and have set a time bound plan to do this over the next three months.”
Unilever has committed to sourcing palm oil solely from regions with climate and forestry initiatives and have publicly pledged to source 100% of its packaging materials from sustainable sources.
Greenpeace first documented IOI’s alleged destruction of orangutan habitat and peatland forest in our 2008 report Burning up Borneo. Since then, IOI has been in the spotlight over accusations of deforestation, including repeated outbreaks of fires in and around its concessions last year.