Mondelez International has declared that it will not partner with palm oil suppliers who use deforestation practices, according to Food Ingredients First.
This stance is part of a larger update to the confection company's sustainable palm oil action plan, which was put in place in 2014. The adjusted plan requires palm oil suppliers to implement better practices throughout all operations, focusing on risk assessment and accountability from third-party suppliers.
Over 90% of Mondelez's palm source material already comes from suppliers that have halted deforestation, but the company, in line with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principles, has vowed to immediately halt dealings with suppliers who don't comply with their standards.
Mondelez International owns a massive array of sweets, snack biscuits and chewing gum brands, so companies in its supply pipeline have every reason to ask "how high" when Mondelez says "jump."
The company made it clear to suppliers of about 10% of its palm oil that, like Mondelez's other suppliers, they will be cut if they don't cease actions that contribute to deforestation.
RSPO estimates the equivalent of 300 football fields of rain forest are cleared hourly to enable palm grove plantings, putting the survival of species like the orangutan at risk; more than 90% of the orangutan's habitat has been destroyed by palm oil plantation developers.
A theoretical alternative to palm oil is being tested at the University of Bath in England. First announced in 2014, the substitute is based on a yeast used in wine production in South Africa, and early tests were positive. If the yeast proves to be a successful palm oil substitute, Mondelez and other manufactures could incorporate it into their products, boosting sustainability and protecting the rain forest.