Statement on responsible palm oil sourcing

Sept. 22, 2010

General Mills is committed to sourcing palm oil in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

General Mills is a relatively minor user of palm oil. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that responsible users of even small amounts of ingredients can impact issues via principled purchasing practices.

We are concerned about the role of palm oil expansion in the deforestation of the world’s rainforests and about the impact of deforestation on biodiversity and endangered species.  Land use for palm cultivation has increased over 40 percent in the last decade, and too often expansion has involved deforestation, impacting both wildlife and indigenous peoples. Deforestation also negatively impacts the global environment, accounting for an estimated 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. 

To help ensure our purchases are not associated in any way with deforestation of the world’s rainforests – and to further reinforce the development of certified sustainable palm oil production practices – General Mills states the following:

  • General Mills supports a moratorium on the destruction of high-conservation value forests, and/or high-carbon value landscapes (e.g., draining of peat lands) for palm oil production or expansion – and will not knowingly source palm oil produced through such deforestation or destruction.
  • We are also concerned about the impact of operations and expansion on indigenous and affected communities – and support prevention and resolution of social and/or land conflicts consistent with the principle of free prior and informed consent.
  • General Mills supports the principles of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and RSPO efforts to encourage and certify sustainable palm oil production practices.  To reinforce those principles, General Mills purchases palm oil only from RSPO members – with preference for purchasing RSPO certified sustainable palm oil.
  • General Mills also supports the development of a globally acceptable definition of sustainable palm oil production, along with the implementation of better management practices to expand the production of palm oil produced in compliance with this definition. As part of our commitment, General Mills has integrated responsible palm oil procurement guidelines into our sourcing strategies – incorporating environmentally and socially responsible palm oil production and sourcing practices into our assessment of suppliers.
  • If an audit or other highly credible source reveals or confirms that a supplier is seriously violating the RSPO’s stated policies involving destruction of high-conservation value rainforest, draining of peat lands, or violation of free prior and informed consent provisions for palm oil production or expansion, and if that supplier does not acknowledge and immediately move to acceptably remediate the concern, General Mills will move to suspend or eliminate palm oil purchases from the supplier in question.
  • As a principled purchaser, General Mills is engaging its suppliers in discussions and direct review of their palm oil production and sourcing practices – and will continue to do so.  We support transparency relative to palm production and expansion, and will regularly update our progress. We will encourage our suppliers to do the same. 
  • We will strive to source 100 percent of our palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015. Hurdles remain in the palm industry, and adequate supplies are not yet available. Use of certified sustainable trade mechanisms, such as GreenPalm certificates, may be necessary, especially in smaller markets. But our objective is clear: General Mills will strive to source 100 percent of our palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015.


2014 global responsibility thumbnail


2014 report on our progress (pdf) Go