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Nestlé’s new strategy on palm oil supply

For the past 2 months, the renowned environmental association Greenpeace has been campaigning against the food-processing industry giant Nestlé. Greenpeace has accused Nestlé of obtaining their palm oil supply from an Indonesian supplier, “Sinar Mas”, who has been contributing to illegal deforestation in Malaysia. Because of this active campaign, Nestlé announced that it would definitely stop using this supplier, and partner with the non-profit association, “The Forest Trust”, in order to establish a more sustainable supply chain.

Greenpeace’s campaign was, as usual, quite persuasive and in some respects aggressive: they compared the famous Kit-Kat bar to a dead orangutan’s fingers, insinuating that Nestlé’s products contributed to the destruction of the rain-forest and its biodiversity. In fact, the Malaysian rain-forest has one of the most significant deforestation rates in the world: “According to a NGO, Malaysia sacrifices its primary forest for the benefit of the intensive crop of palm oil”, said French magazine Geo in June 2009.

Nestlé has listened to the complaints and learned its lesson. On May 17 2010, the company held the “Deforestation Forum” in Kuala Lumpur and announced the end of the collaboration with “Sinar Mas”. “Nestlé views the destruction of tropical rainforests and peatlands as one of the most serious environmental issues facing us today. It is estimated that rainforest destruction contributes to around 20% of carbon dioxide emissions – more than the entire transport sector. The growing use of biofuels is a serious factor in this destruction – which we have vigorously condemned”, said Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.

Nestlé also highlighted its new partnership with the NGO, “The Forest Trust (TFT)”, which will help building a complete sustainable supply chain. The two key points of the partnership are the following:

1. To evaluate the suppliers performance in order to identify and exclude plantations that contribute to deforestation,
2. To bring technical support to suppliers who want to implement sustainable norms.

“We are intensifying our cooperation with international organizations to build a global movement to support the development, implementation and disclosure of sustainable forestry practices. We have joined a coalition calling for a moratorium on rainforest destruction for palm oil in Indonesia and have become an active member of the {{LNK|Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)|http://www.rspo.org/}} ”, specifies the brand on its official website.

In actuality, Nestlé was first involved in sustainable development starting in 1996, when it created the NEMS, "Nestlé Environmental Management System ", that guides the environmental performances of the group. “In 2005, the NEMS got closer to the ISO 14001 international norm. To date, 49 factories in the world are ISO 14 001 certified. Since 2000, Nestlé has appeareds in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index World (DJSI).” Finally, Nestlé is the first global consumer goods company to become a TFT member.

As for Greenpeace, the association now turns toward other famous groups, like Walmart or Carrefour, to convince them to follow Nestlé’s path on palm oil supply.

{{LNK|Discover the sustainable strategy of Nestlé| http://www2.nestle.com/CSV/Pages/CSV.aspx}}

{{LNK|Go to Greenpeace’s website|http://www.greenpeace.org/international/}}

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