Plans by Nestlé to rid its products of palm oil purchased from suppliers linked to the destruction of tropical forests have been cautiously welcomed by Greenpeace.

The Swiss manufacturing giant this morning said it had teamed up with non-profit group the Forest Trust to “transform its purchasing power into a force for forest conservation”.

“For the first time ever, a global company is saying it doesn’t want its products to have a deforestation footprint – and it is taking action to live up to its words,” said Forest Trust executive director Scott Poynton.

“This is the whole push behind our model – to get one end of the supply chain to take responsibility for what happens at the other end. This is a game-changer.”

A Nestlé spokesman said the supply review would “focus on the systematic identification and exclusion of companies owning or managing high-risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation”.

The news comes three months into a bitter row between the Kit Kat maker and Greenpeace, after the environmental campaign group posted a shocking online video to support allegations that the manufacturer’s suppliers were contributing to the death of orang-utans.

Greenpeace described today’s agreement as “a very positive step”.

“Nestlé’s new policy sends a very clear message to companies that are destroying forests and peat lands for new plantations,” said senior campaign advisor Andy Tait,

“If you don’t stop deforestation and protect peat lands, your days of supplying to global brands such as Nestlé are over. This is a very positive step forward by Nestlé, but delivery is critical and we will be monitoring progress carefully.”

Read more
Greenpeace attacks fail to dent sales of Nestlé’s Kit Kat bars (8 May 2010)
Greenpeace keeps up heat over palm oil (27 April 2010)
Greenpeace points finger at Nestlé over palm oil policies (27 March 2010)
Hot Topic: Now Nestlé knows you can make enemies on Facebook as well as friends (27 March 2010)
Nestlé battles Greenpeace over Kit Kat palm oil claim (18 March 2010)