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Statement on responsible palm oil sourcing


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 recognize 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, endangered species, and the broader environment.  Deforestation is a major contributor to global climate change, accounting for an estimated 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

And despite being a highly productive crop that can offer a path out of poverty, unsustainable palm oil production practices can also threaten the rights of indigenous peoples.

To help ensure our purchases do not contribute to deforestation of the world’s rainforests or negatively impact the communities that depend on them, we sourced 100 percent of our palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2016.

General Mills is a member of and 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

In addition we will source palm oil only from suppliers whose operations meet the following principles:

  • Only legal sources.
  • No development on high conservation value landscapes or high carbon stock (HCS) forests.  While the HCS methodology is being refined by field testing and science review, new plantings should only be established in low carbon stock areas.
  • No development on peat lands regardless of depth, and use of best management practices for existing plantations on peat.
  • Compliance with the General Mills Supplier Code of Conduct which describes our expectations in food safety, forced labor, child labor, abuse of labor, freedom of association and collective bargaining, discrimination and harassment, wages and benefits, work hours and overtime, health and safety, environment, and anti-corruption.
  • Prevention and resolution of social and/or land conflicts consistent with the principle of free prior and informed consent.
  • Traceability to the extraction mill and validation of fresh fruit bunches.

Here's a list of our current global direct palm oil suppliers.

General Mills supports increased levels of transparency in the palm oil supply chain which we believe is in the best interest of the entire sector.  We have been gaining increased visibility to the upstream supply chain of our direct suppliers and have supplier mill visibility for 99 percent of purchases.  The most recent list of mills supplying our direct suppliers can be found here and here and will be updated periodically.  We are very supportive of those suppliers who have been publicly transparent about their upstream supply already and it is now an expectation for all our palm oil suppliers.

As part of our commitment, General Mills has integrated responsible palm oil procurement guidelines into our sourcing strategies. As a principled purchaser, General Mills engages its suppliers in direct review of their palm oil production and sourcing practices – and will continue to do so. 

If an audit or other highly credible source reveals or confirms that a supplier is seriously violating the stated principles, 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.

We support transparency relative to palm production and expansion, and will regularly update our progress. We will encourage our suppliers to do the same. 

Hurdles remain in the palm industry. Use of certified sustainable trade mechanisms, such as GreenPalm certificates, may be necessary in smaller operations. But our objective is clear: General Mills has sourced 100 percent of our palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources since 2016.

Definitions
High conservation value (HCV) areas contain items of biological, social or cultural value that are important to conserve, including rare, threatened and endangered species and their habitat. Please visit the HCV Network website for more information.

High carbon stock (HCS) forests: while the HCS methodology is being refined, General Mills will take a precautionary approach to excluding any planting on high carbon stock areas from our supply chains. An initial HCS framework and identification tool has been developed by Golden Agri-Resources and SMART, in collaboration with Greenpeace and TFT, and is currently being tested and refined. 

May 2018-Supplier Performance Update
Due to unresolved concerns about the social and environmental record of Indofoods and Salim Group companies, General Mills has instructed its suppliers to remove palm oil originating from these companies from its supply chain. We are committed to sourcing palm oil in a socially and environmentally responsible manner and to working with suppliers to help them achieve that.  We are acting to ensure that our supply chain remains aligned with our sustainable sourcing commitments. We will continue to monitor Indofoods’ performance through third parties and ongoing engagement with our suppliers.
 
General Mills also confirms that palm oil from Repsa is no longer in our supply chain as a result of divestment decisions previously made in line with our policy by relevant direct suppliers.