Last week, Green Century Management announced that Starbucks will purchase all of the company’s palm oil only through sustainable palm oil suppliers who are certified. Green Century originally filed the shareholder resolution because of concerns that Starbuck’s palm oil suppliers used practices considered destructive to the environment and contributors to global warming.
Over 50% of all consumer goods use palm oil in some way, shape, or form. This includes body lotion, lipstick, and cosmetics. The United States has seen an increase of palm oil imports by 485% over the last 10 years.
The problem: this massive consumption of palm oil ultimately leads to the destruction of rainforests, deforestation on a staggering scale, and an increased amount of greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide.
For instance, 80% of Indonesia’s carbon emissions derive from widespread deforestation. Indonesian citizens who live in rainforests, which number in the tens of millions, depend on the rainforests for basic survival. When a rainforest is destroyed, whole communities face poverty.
Starbucks is not the only corporation to commit to sourcing sustainable palm oil. The coffee giant is joined by Nestle, P&G, SC Johnson, General Mills, Mars, McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and Unilever.