Asia’s largest agribusiness company, Wilmar International, and consumer products leader Unilever today announced an agreement to protect forests and communities through its new policy. Crucially, the policy applies not only to Wilmar’s own operations, but also to its subsidiaries and third-party suppliers. As part of its commitment, Wilmar will work with suppliers to immediately move development activities away from High Carbon Stock (HCS), peat, and High Conservation Value (HCV) lands.
The announcement represents a new approach for Wilmar International, which controls 45 percent of palm oil trade, and is a significant player in other commodities like sugar and soybeans. Wilmar’s announcement is online here, and the policy itself is online here.
The policy includes provisions stating:
- No Deforestation: No more cutting down the rainforest for agricultural production.
- No Exploitation: Protect the rights of workers and communities, including the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
- Protects High Carbon Stock landscape, including peatlands of any depth.
- Protects High Conservation Value forests: No more clearing of forests that are habitat for endangered species, such as orangutans, Sumatran tigers, elephants, and rhinos.
Today’s announcement to the global palm oil supply follows similar changes in demand from consumer-facing companies. Nestlé was the first company to commit to eliminate deforestation and exploitation from its supply chain in 2010. Just last month, Unilever committed that 100% of the palm oil used in its supply chain would by fully traceable to known sources by the end of next year; and global chocolatier Ferrero announced it would become a TFT member and work to make sure that its supply chain has no link to deforestation by the end of 2014.