Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Household cleaning items

I wrote to a few of the suppliers of the household cleaning items I routinely use at home a couple of days ago. The first response is from Unilever. I only use two of their products:
  1. Cif Lemon Cream Cleaner
  2. Domestos Bleach
Palm Oil is an ingredient which is used in many food products, toiletry and cosmetic products. Due to our broad portfolio and scale of business, Unilever is the world's largest user of palm oil.

Hence we are leading the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, a not-for-profit association set up to ensure that companies will be able to purchase certified sustainable palm oil as soon as possible. The challenge in finding an effective and long term solution is the problem of "traceability" (being able to trace every palm kernel back to the plantation which grew it). This is complex in an extended supply chain where there are many thousands of growers - both large and small.

Unfortunately, due to the brands and number of products that Unilever produces, we are unable to provide the generic ingredient details that you are asking for. We are nevertheless committing to traceability in our European supply chain for straight palm oil by 2012.

I hope this has reassured you about the use of palm oil in our products, and I will pass your comments on to our Product Development team. We welcome all consumer feedback - both positive and negative - as it helps us to improve our products and policies, so thank you for taking the time and trouble to contact us.

I understand why traceability is going to be a difficult problem but I can't see why it is so hard for them to provide me with a "yes, we use palm oil in those products" or "no, we don't use palm oil in those products".

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