By Brian Collett — Kraft Heinz, the world’s fifth largest food company valued at $26bn (£21bn, €24.3bn), has announced it is to source all its palm oil in an “ethical, transparent and sustainable manner”.
The group said all its supplies will carry the certification of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which promotes responsible cultivation and monitors crops worldwide.
Kraft Heinz’s new policy adds commitments to work with suppliers on improving traceability, to eliminate child labour, to encourage care of animals in the trade, and to donate a billion meals to those in need.
It will publish its progress in biannual CSR reports.
However, the Rainforest Action Network, the San Francisco-based forest protection group, which previously called Kraft Heinz a palm oil “laggard”, wants the company to publish a detailed plan and give stakeholders progress updates.
Gemma Tillack, who directs the network’s agribusiness campaign, welcomed Kraft Heinz’s new commitments but added: “It is disappointing … that the policy lacks a deadline for implementation.
“Customers will continue to be at risk of buying products that contain conflict palm oil for years to come.”
Deborah Lapidus, campaigns director of Mighty Earth, a Washington DC-based environmental NGO, had similar reservations: “Instead of a clear plan for sourcing 100 per cent deforestation-free and exploitation-free palm oil, like its competitors Kellogg’s and Nestlé did years ago, Kraft Heinz is taking a baby step of buying palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.”