WhiteWave Foods (NYSE: WWAV), the company that makes Silk, Horizon Organic, International Delight, and LAND O LAKES, announced that all products in its portfolio containing palm oil are now sourced according to rules set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Palm oil currently is used in a variety of liquid creamer products.
In 2010, WhiteWave became a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, an international multi-stakeholder organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development of palm oil. As part of its RSPO membership, the company then committed to supporting sustainable palm oil through Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) purchases by 2015. CSPO is palm oil grown, processed and manufactured in accordance with the Principles & Criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
“WhiteWave is proud to source palm oil from suppliers that adhere to the RSPO principles, which ensure the rainforest and its inhabitants are protected and that workers are treated fairly and receive fair wages,” said Ron Schnur, vice president of procurement and contract manufacturing at WhiteWave Foods. “This is one step towards solving a complex issue, and we urge other manufacturers to make this commitment which will eventually enhance traceability within the supply chain.”
In order to be considered certified sustainable, palm oil must meet eight principles and 39 practical criteria of sustainable production. These principles and criteria are designed to prevent undue environmental and societal harm.
“The progress from WhiteWave Foods in converting a verbal commitment to a tangible delivery to ensure that all palm oil used in its products is fully sourced according to rules set by the RSPO deserves praise,” said Darrel Webber, secretary general of the RSPO. “Consumers in the United States of America, and all around the world, are becoming increasingly discerning in their responsible buying decisions. More awareness will be gained as more companies commit to responsible sourcing of sustainable palm oil.”
WhiteWave sources it palm oil using the “mass balance” system established by the RSPO. In this system, palm users purchase certified palm products, which are then mixed with conventional palm products in the supply chain. The company is currently sourcing 100 percent of its palm oil for liquid creamer products through the mass balance system.
“Purchasing CSPO through the mass balance system provides an important mechanism to increase demand for CSPO and support the transition to fully segregated CSPO markets in the future,” said John Buchanan, senior director of food security at Conservation International. “Conservation International applauds WhiteWave’s actions and hopes that other companies will follow this example.”
WhiteWave also launched Responsible Sourcing Principles, which are designed to provide guidance for the sourcing of ingredients and materials. The Responsible Sourcing Principles are currently being implemented across the company’s North American brands, including Silk, International Delight, Horizon Organic and LAND O LAKES, and include the following three tenets:
- Transparency, including providing consumers with information about where WhiteWave ingredients come from and how the company’s products are made. This also includes ensuring suppliers, employees and other stakeholders have a clear and straightforward understanding of WhiteWave sourcing practices.
- Continuous Improvement, which focuses on regularly evaluating how ingredients and products are sourced to seek and create opportunities for transparency and more responsible sourcing practices.
- Engaging as Leaders, which takes a holistic approach to business rooted in supplier outreach, customer engagement, consumer education and innovative thinking across the organization. This component also involves a commitment to partnering with organizations that share WhiteWave’s dedication to socially and environmentally responsible sourcing practices.
WhiteWave’s commitment to source CSPO is the next step in a series of responsibly sourced practices WhiteWave has implemented over the years.