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Major brands are failing to tackle deforestation

Some of the world’s most influential brands are still failing to tackle deforestation, according to the new WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard. 

The scorecard examines 227 major retailers, consumer goods manufacturers and hospitality companies across the globe on their commitments and actions to create a sustainable palm oil industry. 

In the UK, the John Lewis Partnership scored highest and were found to be ‘leading the way’ on sustainable palm oil. 

At the other end of the scale, 11 UK companies failed to provide any information on their palm oil usage and sustainability efforts, including the Weatherspoons pub chain and healthcare giant Glaxo SmithKline. 

Katie White, executive director of Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF, said: ‘A few companies have made impressive strides to eliminate unsustainable palm oil from their businesses to protect nature. They have shown their competitors that it can be done.

‘However, despite many global brands making long-standing commitments to eliminate the destruction of nature from their palm oil supply chains by 2020, the vast majority are still not acting on their promises.

‘We won’t forget the companies that don’t step up – with so much at stake, there is no room for inaction or half measures.’

green palm trees under blue sky during daytime

Overall the scorecard highlights that there is significant room for improvement. This year, UK companies scored an average of 14.4 out of 24, slightly higher than the international average of 13.2. 

The scorecard also finds that most companies have failed to establish robust policies and mechanisms to ensure that the palm oil they source is free of deforestation and human rights abuses. 

While seven out of 10 have committed to addressing deforestation in their palm oil supply chains, and nine out of 10 to protecting human rights, only a handful apply these commitments to all ecosystems and the people most at risk of unsustainable palm oil production.

Photo by Attila Janosi

 

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