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Unilever Cuts Ties With Oil Supplier

Unilever has suspended future purchases of palm oil from one of its suppliers over Greenpeace allegations about the firm’s environmental practices.

LONDON — Unilever has suspended future purchases of palm oil from one of its suppliers over Greenpeace allegations about the firm’s environmental practices.

This story first appeared in the December 14, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant said it has halted purchases of palm oil from PT Smart, which is part of the Sinar Mas group, until the company can prove its plantations are not expanding onto peat lands and contributing to the destruction of high conservation value forests.

“The Greenpeace claims are of a nature that we can’t ignore,” stated Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief procurement officer. “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 reconsider our position.”

Unilever is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The company said it has been scrutinizing the activities of its suppliers for 18 months.