In an effort to avoid palm oil linked to deforestation, candy giant Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) will source 100 percent of its palm oil from traceable sources by the end of 2014.
The commitment, announced Tuesday, comes on the heels of a similar pledge from Unilever, the world’s largest corporate consumer of palm oil, and a new forest conservation policy from Wilmar, a Singapore-based agribusiness giant that producers or trades 45 percent of global palm oil production.
Hershey had earlier set a 2015 target for sourcing 100 percent of the palm oil it uses from sources certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The new pledge represents a stronger commitment, including specific safeguards excluding palm oil produced via deforestation, conversion of high carbon stock forest and high conservation value areas, and destruction of peatlands.
Deforestation for palm oil production in Borneo
“The Hershey Company is committed to continuous improvement and transparency in our sustainable sourcing efforts,” said Frank Day, Vice President of Global Commodities, is a statement. “Our move to source 100 percent traceable palm oil is the latest step forward in our efforts to ensure we are sourcing only sustainably grown palm oil that does not contribute to the destruction of wildlife habitat or negatively impact the environment.”
Hershey uses palm oil in a variety of its products, but is overall a small consumer of the vegetable oil, which is produced from the fruit of the oil palm.