Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Proctor & Gamble reply

I have received a response from Proctor & Gamble which contains all the usual generalisations about sustainable palm oil and how they buy it. Worryingly, they only say most of their palm oil suppliers are members of the RSPO so I guess if they get caught with some that isn't they can say "oh yes, just that bit isn't sustainable".

I'm no great believer that palm oil can be grown sustainably anyway all the time demand continues to rise so much - where is the new palm oil going to come from to fuel the proposed EU increase from 5% to 10% in biofuels sustainability criteria?

All it means is that responsible companies will buy the sustainable palm oil, leaving the rest for those with no scruples. It's not good enough to pat ourselves on the back and say ours is sustainable so we don't have to worry about it anymore. It's unacceptable that the rainforest is continuing to decline even though every single company that I write to claims to either already be buying sustainable palm oil or will be doing by 2015. Rainforest is still disappearing. We have to raise our game if it's going to stop.

Anyway, the response from P&G is very similar to that of Reckitt Benckiser - no individual answers about the products I buy. They give me a website address and invite me to investigate the list ingredients to establish whether the products contain palm oil. I will write a similar response to P&G and hope that in the interests of customer services, they will be prepared to give me a yes or no for the products that I buy.

L'Occitane haven't replied to my e-mail so I've had to snail mailed them as well. If they would only reply using e-mail, it would save paper - I shouldn't have to send letters using paper in this day and age - for goodness sake, L'Occitane - join the 21st Century! Paper use is another cause of rainforest decline.

Do I sound irritated? That's because I am :-(


  1. Well done Sue. You are doing great things! Keep fighting the good fight!

  2. Many thanks for the encouragement. :-)

  3. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for your great work and spreading the word about the problems with how palm oil is produced. I'm trying to connect with Virginie Helias, Proctor and Gamble's new Director of Global Sustainability to talk to hear about palm oil in their supply chain. She just took up this post in July and I am having a hard time finding her email address. If you have it, could you share it? You can reach me at Mswaffer[at]ucsusa.org.

    Thank you kindly,

    1. Sorry, Miriam, I haven't been in touch with them for a couple of years, Proctor and Gamble have shown no interest at all in engaging on this point. Someone new may respond so good luck!