COMPANIES RESPOND TO FOREST FIRE ALLEGATIONS

Indonesia forest fire

Nestle and Mondelez have issued a response to allegations accusing the companies of sourcing palm oil from producers associated with the forest fires in Indonesia.

The environmental organisation Greenpeace has published a report titled ‘Burning down the house: How Unilever and other global brands continue to fuel Indonesia’s fires’ accusing the companies, alongside eight others, of being responsible for Indonesia’s hotspot fires this year.

“These fires, often set deliberately to clear land for plantation or agriculture, are a massive wake-up call that shows just how deeply these sectors are implicated in climate and ecological breakdown,” said Greenpeace in the report. “Thanks largely to them, our global economy is burning down the house that we all live in.”

Nestle suspects that a large proportion of the fires were started by independent producers and smallholder farmers looking to expand plots.

“We will immediately cease sourcing from any supplier found to be linked to any deforestation activity,” said Nestle. “Ten suppliers have already been removed from the Nestle palm oil supply chain for not complying with our Responsible Sourcing Standard requirements.”

The KitKat maker has expressed deep concerns over the allegations and is set to investigate the occurrence.

In 2014, Mondelez committed to sourcing 100 percent sustainably produced palm oil. The FMCG giant currently purchases 0.5 percent of the global palm oil production industry.

“We believe we must use our influence to drive change at a sector level to be successful in ending deforestation,” said a spokesperson for Mondelez. “Stopping deforestation is critical to addressing global climate change and protecting local ecosystems that farmers need to grow sustainable raw materials.”

The company has required its palm oil suppliers to create a traceable supply chain across their own palm oil operation and others. It has set out a plan to investigate Greenpeace’s claims and ‘take action’ against verified allegations.