Unilever suspends certain palm oil purchases

by Eric Schroeder
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LONDON — Unilever P.L.C. has suspended all future purchases of palm oil from the Indonesian company PT SMART, part of the Sinar Mas group, until the company is able to provide verifiable proof that none of their plantations are contributing to the destruction of high conservation value forests and expanding onto peat lands.

Unilever has been examining the activities of its suppliers for the past 18 months, and earlier this year began conducting independent audits. The audits revealed several areas of concern and are being addressed on an individual basis, Unilever said.

In the case of PT SMART, Greenpeace has made allegations against the company’s parent.

“The Greenpeace claims are of a nature that we can’t ignore,” said Marc Engel, chief procurement officer, Unilever. “Unilever is committed to sustainable sourcing. Therefore, we have notified PT SMART that we have no choice but to suspend our future purchasing of palm oil.

“If PT SMART is able to come forward with concrete proof that they are not involved in unacceptable environmental practices then we would certainly re-consider our position.”

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