Friday, 23 October 2009

Cadbury reply

I wrote to Cadbury as follows:

I was very pleased to discover that due to consumer pressure, you are not going ahead with using palm oil in your products in New Zealand and Australia. I am concerned though that you are continuing to use it in products supplied to the UK. This suggests that consumer pressure is more effective in those countries. I have been trying to live without palm oil as far as I can as I do not wish my consumer choices to help palm oil plantations continue to destroy wildlife habit in the rainforest. Since the extensive reporting about palm oil and Cadbury, I have stopped buying Cadbury Products. If you have a list of your products that do not contain palm oil, I would find this extremely helpful and would welcome your comments on whether a sustained and effective consumer campaign in the United Kingdom would make Cadbury change their mind about whether to use palm oil in products supplied to the UK.

This is the reply they have sent to me:

Thank you for your query about palm oil and Cadbury.

Cadbury has committed to source all palm oil sustainably by 2014.

We have been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since it began. We have played a major role in developing the RSPOs activities and working with other businesses to adopt sustainable palm oil.

We are continuing this work, only buying the palm oil we use from other members of RSPO who are working in the same way and developing sources of sustainable palm oil to use for the small amount of palm oil that is included in some of our products.

Although we only use around 40,000t of palm oil, compared to the millions of tonnes used by others, we have been keen to develop sustainable sources, encouraging others to do the same and to use those sources to help minimise the impact of palm oil production and maintain natural ecosystems. Developing these sustainable sources is also crucial to enable the large users of palm oil in the far-east to also adopt sustainable practices.

This work is continuing and the ongoing support of the multi-stakeholder group of businesses, Governments and campaigning organisations within the RSPO is important in developing increasingly robust farming practices. While our use of palm oil is relatively minor, we view the impact of palm oil development on the environment seriously. As a result, we are also part of the partnership between industry and campaigning organisations such as Greenpeace, WWF, Conservation International, Rainforest Project and the Rainforest Alliance that is speeding up the growth of sustainable sources of palm oil. This also supports a moratorium on any further deforestation that might arise from palm oil farming.

I hope that you would agree that, through our work, we are supporting your suggestions. We will continue to work to deliver and encourage the use of sustainable palm oil in the future. Cadbury Consumer Relations Department

Actually, no I don't agree - just please address my specific requests rather than sending a generic policy that you send to everyone. I have asked for a list of products that do (or do not) contain palm oil (not supplied) and why haven't you addressed why in the UK, we are being palmed off (excuse the pun) with the cheap chocolate whilst the Kiwi's get the better product? (Ignored). I have written back hoping they will address my specific requests next time.


  1. Good luck with this. I only became aware of the issue when I saw Alex Riley's recent BBC3 programme which described how Cadbury, Mars and Nestle all used palm oil, and how the rainforests in Asia are suffering for it.
    The Rainforest Alliance also came out of it rather badly - they are happy for their logo to appear on the chocolate despite it being made from non sustainable palm oil. This is quite appalling, and I would encourage any members of the RA to strongly complain to the management.

  2. Thanks for your interest. That was an excellent piece of journalism and I agree, RA looked very bad, I hope they're addressing the idiocy of endorsing products containing non sustainable palm oil.