SumOfUs.org, a nonprofit that describes its mission as "a new worldwide movement for a better global economy," says it will hand-deliver a petition to Kellogg asking the company to end its partnership with Wilmar International Limited, unless Wilmar agrees to change its practices.
The group charges that Wilmar's palm-oil trading practices, and the palm oil industry in general, have had a "devasting" deforestation impact on South Asian forests.
Wilmar is Asia's leading agribusiness group. Last year, Kellogg formed a 50/50 joint venture with Wilmar for the manufacture, sale and distribution of cereal and snacks in China.
The online petition, which currently shows more than 117,000 signatures, is to be hand-delivered to Kellogg's Battle Creek, Mich. headquarters on August 1.
Protesters/environmentalists Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, who have previously led a campaign to get Kellogg’s Girl Scout Cookies to be "deforestation free," will deliver the petition.
A report released in June by WWF alleged that Wilmar has been trading illegally-grown palm oil in Indonesia, reported BakeryandSnacks.com, on July 12.
But Kellogg's chief sustainability officer, Diane Holdorf, said: “Kellogg recognizes and respects concerns about the sustainability of palm oil and has gone to great lengths to ensure we are doing our part on this important issue. We use a very small percentage of the global supply of palm oil, and all of the palm oil we use is 100% sustainably sourced.” She added that as part of its commitment with the Consumer Goods Forum to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, Kellogg has made "aggressive changes to our sourcing of palm oil since 2011."
Holdorf also said Kellogg only works with palm oil suppliers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. That organization requires that members adhere to rules and certification requirements designed to protect forests.
Today, MLive.com reports that Kellogg executives said that they'd been in contact with and had met with organizers from SumOfUs prior to the group's announced petition/event. Holdorf said: "We will continue working toward the development of a sustainable palm oil supply that is environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable.”