Responsible Palm Oil Is Head And Shoulders Above The Rest Wanless

You may breathe a small sigh of relief for the rainforest.

Following enormous public pressure, Procter and Gamble (P&G) has finally committed to a new ‘No Deforestation’ policy that will remove forest destruction from its products and provide full traceability for all the palm oil and derivatives it uses.

After weeks of public pressure and outcry over the company’s palm oil sourcing practices, Greenpeace International has welcomed the move as a huge step forward in protecting the country’s forests and the communities who depend on them.

However, the organization is warning that much work still remains.

Nearly 400,000 people have called for the company - which manufactures a wide range of products, including the Head and Shoulders shampoo brand - to change its ways and take measures to stop the destruction of habitat that is home to the Sumatran tiger and the orangutan, among other species.

P&G has promised to take measures to remove all deforestation from its palm oil supply chains by 2020. The policy goes beyond existing criteria from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and requires the company’s suppliers to guarantee there will be no conversion of peat land, that the rights of local communities will be respected and that high carbon and high conservation value areas will be protected.

“Hundreds of thousands of people across the planet have called on P&G to get rid of palm oil that is leaving tigers and orangutans homeless,” says Areeba Hamid, a forest campaigner with Greenpeace International. “Their commitment today is another step towards responsible supply chains and ending deforestation in the world’s rainforests.”

“But the policy is not perfect. It leaves suppliers six more years to clear forests. With global warming and rapid biodiversity loss, we urge P&G to take action against suppliers that have been identified to be clearing forests and peatlands.

“Also for P&G to guarantee that all its products are completely free from forest destruction, it would need to implement a similar No Deforestation commitment across forest commodities such as wood pulp.”

A Greenpeace study released in February 2014 highlighted serious violations committed by a number of P&G’s known suppliers and the subsequent public outcry saw more than 400,000 people email the company’s CEO to demand change.

The announcement follows a number of other high-profile palm oil traders and consumers, including L’Oreal, Colgate-Palmolive, Wilmar and GAR, that have all committed to No Deforestation in their supply chains.

This indicates a real and significant change in attitude within an industry that has been linked to widespread deforestation, the removal of livelihoods from local communities and the destruction of the habitat of endangered species and valuable biodiversity.