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Swiss giant orders investigation into its largest palm oil supplier

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.

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