Saturday, 6 June 2009

Unilever supports conversion to sustainable palm oil

Unilever supports conversion to sustainable palm oil

Friday, 05 June 2009 09:02

“The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a crucial measure in reducing deforestation”, Unilever’s CEO and co-founder (along with WWF) of RSPO in 2004 Paul Polman recently re-stated at the recent World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen.

His speech in Copenhagen called for governments to support a moratorium on deforestation as a crucial measure to tackle climate change. “The destruction of the world’s tropical rainforests accounts for about 20% of greenhouse gases- more than the entire transport sector. We believe that we are at a point in time where, if the government and industry work effectively together to address the problem of deforestation, we can make real progress”, said Polman.

The production of palm oil, he stressed, is one of the main drivers of deforestation in South East Asia, particularly Indonesia. Over 43 million tons of palm oil is produced worldwide, being used as an ingredient in food, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos and detergents.

Unilever has been assembling a coalition of international businesses including L’Oreal, Colgate and Tesco in an effort to tackle this issue.

Also WWF earlier last month voiced again concern about the impotency of the RSPO pledge to convert to a sustainable product, revealing that only 1% of the sustainable palm oil produced has been bought. WWF even issued an ultimatum to the industry to use 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2015.

As one of the world’s leading suppliers of cosmetics, Unilever’s support for environmental change could serve as a reminder to other companies of the importance of investing in sustainable product.