WAZA Applauds Suspension of Nestlé from Palm Oil Association

Date: 2018/07/03


WAZA Statement on the suspension of Nestlé from leading palm oil body


The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) welcomed the recent decision by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to suspend Nestlé for failing to comply with RSPO regulations and submit a report detailing how it would ensure the use of certified sustainable palm oil.


Nestlé is the second-largest food company in the world, with an estimated US$91 billion in revenues in 2017. But failure to meet RSPO standards resulted in the suspension of Nestlé and all its subsidiaries which was announced on 28 June.


“WAZA is committed to the sustainable development of palm oil and believes industry leaders should lead the way,” said Doug Cress, Chief Executive Officer of WAZA. “Nestlé could be in a position to model change on a global scale. Instead, the company could not – or would not –meet the RSPO’s minimum standards. As a result, the RSPO did what it had to do.”


WAZA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RSPO in 2017 that seeks to have at least 50 percent of WAZA zoos and aquariums committed to certified sustainable palm oil products by 2023.


RSPO regulations give suspended members two weeks to come into compliance before the suspension becomes final.


RSPO members are required to file annual reports that specify their action taken over the previous 12 months and plans for the coming year and longer term on how they will produce or buy certified sustainable palm oil in a report. Nestlé failed to submit a report for 2016 and submitted a report for 2017 that included no time-bound plan.


Palm oil is found in many of the consumer items sold at zoos and aquariums in addition to some of the food given to animals at those institutions and is the most widely used edible oil in the world, found in approximately half of all items on supermarket shelves. The industry has been heavily criticized in recent years for the deforestation and air pollution that devastated biodiversity in Southeast Asia and part of Africa and Latin America, but sustainably sourced palm oil is more economically advantageous and environmentally friendly than soybean, rapeseed, peanut and other vegetable oils.


Nestlé said in a statement that it shared the RSPO’s “ambition for improving the social and environmental performance of the palm oil sector” but that “our approaches to this do differ.” The Nestle statement said the company will continue its dialogue with the RSPO and hopes to re-qualify for membership in the near future.


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