Consumer product titan Unilever has advised suppliers to stop sourcing palm oil from Indonesian planter, Duta Palma, after an undercover BBC documentary showed the firm allegedly destroying areas of a protected rainforest. This move comes just months after Unilever suspended future purchases from another Indonesian palm oil supplier, PT Smart, for similar reasons.
Unilever is the world’s top palm oil buyer, purchasing around 1.5 million tonnes annually. The product is used as the vegetable oil in many items including shampoo, lotion, soap, margarine, and ice cream. In May 2008, Unilever committed to buying only 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2015 regardless of cost and at no extra expense to consumers. By 2011 the company hopes to reach 60% of that goal.
Unilever is an active member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which was formed in 2004 with the objective of ensuring, through global standards, that firms only use palm oil from sustainable sources.