Unilever has vowed to source palm oil that is “traceable to known sources” by the end of 2014.
The company buys around three per cent of the world’s total production of palm oil each year for use in products such as margarine, ice cream, soap and shampoo.
Chief procurement officer Marc Engel said: “Market transformation can only happen if everyone involved takes responsibility and is held accountable for driving a sustainability agenda. Our progress has been made possible by the commitment and efforts of a number of our strategic suppliers.
“We will continue to engage with our suppliers, non-government organisations, governments, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, end users and other industry stakeholders to develop collaborative solutions to halt deforestation, protect peat land and to drive positive economic and social impact for people and local communities.”
The news comes in the same month that Mintec announced a 15 per cent price rise in the cost of palm oil since the beginning of August. It put the raise down to rising global demand driven by the increasing use of palm oil for biodiesel, particularly in the EU.
A report from Mintec said: “Stocks in Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s two top exporters, are reported to be down 0.9 million tonnes in 2013 compared with 2012. Exports are higher than expected, increasing by 9.4 per cent to a record 44.1 million tonnes, with Malaysia and Indonesia alone exporting 39.6 million tonnes.”