- General Mills announced a committment to sourcing deforestation-free palm oil by 2015, a step that will have a positive impact on climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
- UCS recently graded palm oil sourcing commitments of 30 top companies, including General Mills, which scored only 42.6 out of 100.
- While the UCS applauds General Mills' new direction, it faults the company for being ignorant of the industry method for identifying which forests are most critical, something it will have to learn and embrace to make its new policy effective.
Here, General Mills is following in Mars' footsteps by committing to combat deforestation in palm oil sourcing. But palm oil is used in a wide range of products, not just food. The increasing demand for palm oil has brought about a critical increase in deforestation. Aside from forest loss contributing to the problem of global warming, the destruction of that natural habitat renders endangered species homeless and depletes a natural resource for communities that depend on it.
Sharon Smith, campaign manager with UCS’s Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative explained the flaw in General Mills' new policy: “General Mills seems out of touch with the industry definition of High Carbon Stock forests, a method used to identify critically important forests. The company claims there isn’t an industry methodology – an argument generally used to justify cutting down important forests – but in fact, there is an established method and General Mills needs to adopt it." Let's hope General Mills takes note and consults with those who can guide it in the matter of High Carbon Stock forests.