Migros, Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain, will lodge a formal complaint against Malaysia’s IOI Group after the palm oil grower was linked to illegal forest-clearing and encroachment on indigenous lands, reports the Bruno Manser Fund.
Migros said it would ask IOI’s conduct to be investigated by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a certification body that sets standards for greener palm oil production. IOI is Migros’ largest palm oil supplier.
“This matter must be investigated. If the reproaches are seen to be true then, in Migros’ opinion, sanctions must be imposed on the company in fault,” said the Swiss company in a statement. “If the explanation given is not satisfactory, Migros will take the necessary action and draw the appropriate consequences.”
Forest clearance in Sarawak by IOI. Photo courtesy of the Bruno Manser Fund
While stopping short of a boycott on palm oil, the supermarket chain said it would examine “all the possibilities for replacing palm oil if this brings advantages in social, ecological, or health terms.”
Migros is a founder member of the RSPO, which includes palm oil producers, traders, and buyers as well as NGOs.
The warning from Migros comes after Unilever, Kraft, and Nestle, among others, severed ties with palm oil suppliers after revelations about environmental misconduct.
Nestle caves to activist pressure on palm oil
(05/17/2010) After a two month campaign against Nestle for its use of palm oil linked to rainforest destruction spearheaded by Greenpeace, the food giant has given in to activists’ demands. The Swiss-based company announced today in Malaysia that it will partner with the Forest Trust, an international non-profit organization, to rid its supply chain of any sources involved in the destruction of rainforests. “Nestle’s actions will focus on the systematic identification and exclusion of companies owning or managing high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation,” a press release from the company reads, adding that “Nestle wants to ensure that its products have no deforestation footprint.”
BBC documentary leads Unilever to blacklist Indonesian palm oil company
(02/24/2010) Unilever has told Indonesian suppliers to stop sourcing palm oil from Duta Palma due to concerns over deforestation, reports Reuters.
Forest destruction by Sinar Mas undermines efforts to develop and promote greener palm oil
(12/14/2009) An investigation commissioned by Unilever, the world’s largest buyer of palm oil, confirms that Indonesian group Sinar Mas, the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, has been destroying forests and peatlands despite committing to “greener” palm oil production as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Unilever has now suspended its $32.6 million contract with Sinar Mas.
Unilever suspends palm oil contract after supplier found to be destroying rainforests
(12/12/2009) The world’s largest user of palm oil, Unilever, has suspended its $32.6 million contract with the Indonesian group Sinar Mas after an independent audit proved that Sinar Mas is involved in the destruction of rainforest, reports Reuters. The audit was conducted early this year after a report by Greenpeace alleged that Sinar Mas was engaged in deforestation and the draining of peatlands, both of which release significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Deforestation across Indonesia and Malaysia, in part for oil palm plantations, has also added pressure on many many endangered species, including orangutans, tigers, elephants, and rhinos.