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Dunkin’ Donuts To Source Sustainable Palm Oil

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Dunkin’ Donuts will set a target date to source all of its palm oil from sustainable sources or purchase offset certificated covering its sourced palm oil, according to a recent announcement by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The national donut company’s move comes after a recent shareholder resolution made by DiNapoli, which asked the company to address the social and environmental concerns associated with palm oil production. DiNapoli is the trustee of New York’s pension fund, which owns about $1.9 million in Dunkin’ Donuts stock.

“Dunkin’ Brands should be commended for taking the necessary steps to use only sustainably harvested palm oil in its products,” said DiNapoli. “Consumers may not realize that many of the foods and cosmetics they eat and use contain palm oil that has been harvested in ways that are severely detrimental to the environment. Shareholder value is enhanced when companies take steps to address the risks associated with environmental practices that promote climate change.”

Dunkin’ Donuts currently prepares all of its donut products using a blend of palm, soy and cottonseed oil, introduced in October 2007 when the brand transitioned its menu to 100 percent trans-fat free. The company has been a popular target for environmentalists who claim the palm oil production from unsustainable sources has led to the destruction of rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia, which together account for 80 percent of the world’s palm oil production.

Several other companies in which the New York pension fund invests also have been pushed to adopt sustainable practices. In 2010, Sara Lee agreed to purchase palm oil from members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international organization of producers, distributors and conservationists promoting the growth of sustainable palm oil production. Last year, J.M. Smucker Company began purchasing palm oil from RSPO-certified sources and promised to source 100 percent of its direct palm oil from responsible and certified sources by 2015.

RSPO recently has come under fire from the World Wildlife Federation, which said only a handful of member producers are making adequate progress towards the goal of becoming 100 percent sustainable. 

Last month, Starbucks announced it will begin sourcing all of its palm oil from certified sustainable suppliers by 2015 in response to a shareholder resolution.

Mike Hower is Marketing Communications Manager at Carbon Lighthouse. With a background on both sides of the communications podium — as a journalist and strategic communicator — he is committed to helping organizations address climate change through sustainability innovation. Previously,… [Read more about Mike Hower]

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