Here at Kellogg, most of my business trips consist of traveling in the U.S., hunkered down in conference rooms talking about sustainability policies and strategies. Or, I’m out in the field, visiting farmers and ingredient suppliers in states like Nebraska or Illinois.
But recently, I did something different. I went to Indonesia!
While I was there, I attended the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) annual meeting. Let me share why this is so important. In my role, I lead global responsible sourcing, which means I work with suppliers and farmers in our supply chain around the world to help ensure our ingredients are grown more sustainably. I also work with NGO partners, nonprofit groups, and governments to discuss how we can work together to address environmental and social challenges facing the industries from which we source.
A good example is palm oil. The palm oil industry has been associated with the destruction of tropical forest habitats and peat lands. It has also had chronic issues with human rights violations like gender inequality and forced labor. These are issues of great concern to our company -- we know that consumers care about these issues, too.
As one of the largest palm producing countries, Indonesia provides nearly half of the world’s supply of palm oil. Although Kellogg uses a very small amount of palm oil in our foods globally, we have been working since 2009 to influence the industry, making thoughtful and informed decisions about which suppliers we use when we buy palm oil.
We work with partners through the RSPO - the leading organization that focuses on transforming palm oil markets - to ensure sustainable palm oil production is the norm. All of the palm oil we use globally is sourced either through RSPO certified supply chains, a combination of segregated supply chains, mass balance mixed-source supply chains, and through the purchase of RSPO Palm Trace certificates.
We are committed to sourcing fully traceable palm oil to plantations that are responsibly managed – and sharing our progress biannually through our Palm Oil Milestones Report. We not only work on traceability, but identifying and addressing issues as they arise.
At RSPO’s annual meeting, the organization announced the formation of the North American Sustainable Palm Oil Network (NASPON). This coalition brings together stakeholders across many industries who are committed to increasing the use of certified sustainable palm oil in North America. Kellogg has joined as a founding member to help increase the sustainable palm oil dialogue in North America, and to support our continued work engaging palm oil suppliers on issues and risks within their extended sourcing palm supply chain.
That’s why we are also working with our peers in the industry to hold palm oil supplier workshops designed to raise awareness on wages, employment contract status and complaint systems at palm plantations.
Although there is a lot of work ahead of us, this trip brought into focus the role I can play in my job to be the change I wish to see in our responsible sourcing journey, and how Kellogg can continue using its voice and actions to make a difference.