Mars, the leading manufacturer of candy products including M&M's, Twix, Skittles and Starburst announced it will extend its commitment to end deforestation by using only sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015.
The new policy will require all of Mars' suppliers to be fully sustainable and have traceable palm oil supplies by the end of next year, or to have the plans in place by then.
"Since 2010, the company has bought all its palm oil as 100% certified under the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) 'mass balance' system, which allows it to pay for a certain volume of certified oil without physical segregation along the supply chain," reports Food Navigator.
"We have recognized that even though we have already implemented a 100% certified supply of palm oil this is not enough," Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer at Mars, Inc, told Food Navigator. "We believe that these additional measures will not only help build a genuinely sustainable pipeline for Mars, but will also help accelerate change across the industry by encouraging our suppliers to only source from companies whose plantations and farms are responsibly run."
Production of palm oil, which is found in hundreds of processed foods and in biofuels, is on the rise. According to Greenpeace, compared to levels in 2000, "demand is predicted to more than double by 2030 and to triple by 2050. Over 70 per cent ends up in food, but the biofuels industry is expanding rapidly. Indonesia already has 6 million hectares of oil palm plantations, but has plans for another 4 million by 2015 dedicated to biofuel production alone."
Mars is the latest multinational company to make the commitment. Others include Unilever and Nestlé. Mars has also joined The Forest Trust in order to help prevent deforestation. And the company says it's also turning its focus on eliminating deforestation to paper products, beef and soy.
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