Palm Oil

The chocolate giant’s plan to prevent deforestation has been welcomed

Mondelez International has insisted the rising cost of palm oil - up 81.4% year on year at the start of this month [Mintec] - will not undermine its sustainability commitments for the commodity.

The chocolate giant announced last week it was extending its Palm Oil Action Plan, which was originally published in 2014, with tough new requirements for suppliers including full traceability of oil sourced from third-parties, and new expectations around action and reporting on both sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil.

Suppliers will now be required to map and assess the risk of all supplying mills on Global Forest Watch; to provide assurance that no deforestation occurs on their concessions; to exclude third party suppliers who do not immediately cease deforestation; and to work with third party experts to protect labour rights.

“The update advances the company’s goal to make sustainable palm oil the mainstream option, based on the principles that production should be on legally held land; not lead to deforestation or loss of peat land; respect human rights, including land rights; and not use forced or child labour,” said a spokesman from Mondelez.

Recent steep rises in commodity prices would not affect the sustainability plans, he added. “Short term movements in raw material pricing do not affect our overall strategic direction,.”

Danielle Morley, European director of outreach and engagement at the sustainable palm oil certifier RSPO, praised the company’s decision to widen its plan. “We welcome Mondelez commitments to improving transparency of their palm oil supply chain. RSPO has upgraded traceability in our own system and from 2017 it will be possible to trace the origin of all RSPO-certified palm oil and palm oil kernel oil back to certified mills, for both physical and credit-based trading.”

Last week, Mondelez caused outrage after announcing it was reducing the weight of its Toblerone chocolate bars in response to rising commodity prices and the increased costs of making chocolate. The 400g bar was reduced to 360g and the 170g bar, which is only sold in the UK, is now 150g.

“We appreciate the passion of the Toblerone fans around the world,” said the brand on its Facebook page which assured consumers the recipe for the bar, which does not feature palm oil, has not changed.