Calvert Leads Successful Dialogue with Colgate-Palmolive on Palm Oil Sustainability
Sustainable palm oil critical to climate change mitigation, conservation of key orangutan habitat
More and more, consumer packaged goods companies like L’Oreal (PDF) are making commitments to source sustainable palm oil for use in their products. The industry uses palm oil and its derivatives – from the fruit of the oil palm tree -- in food, lotions, soaps, shampoo and other items. Although there are sustainability advantages to using oil palm trees, which produce a great deal of oil with less land, water, and pesticides than many other crops, there are also significant problems with the way oil palm trees are typically grown in some countries. Palm oil plantations may be responsible for significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, displacement of local and Indigenous Peoples, and decimation of endangered species, such as the orangutan. The urgency of multi-stakeholder efforts to improve palm oil production were just recently brought home, as scientists with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program said in late March that hundreds of the critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan had been killed in fires deliberately set by palm oil companies.
In 2011, Calvert was the lead filer in a shareholder resolution co-filed with six other investors, asking the Colgate-Palmolive Company (“Colgate”) to adopt and implement a comprehensive palm oil sourcing policy including a target date for sourcing 100% certified sustainable palm oil. We also asked the company to report to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international certification scheme for sustainable palm oil production. Following a constructive dialogue with Colgate, including a review of its comprehensive strategy regarding palm oil and palm kernel oil, Calvert and its co-sponsors withdrew their proposal. By 2015, Colgate’s goal is to purchase only certified sustainable palm oil and derivatives from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil member companies.
We applaud Colgate for addressing this important issue in its supply chain and by reporting to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Colgate’s palm oil policy may be found in the latest Sustainability Report.
As of 2/29/12, accounts managed by Calvert Investment Management, Inc. held securities issued by Colgate-Palmolive Company and L’Oreal Group. Calvert may or may not still invest in, and is not recommending any action on, companies listed.
Calvert Investment Management, Inc., 4550 Montgomery Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814