A recent news story from Bernama news in Malaysia is reporting that Nestle Malaysia will be increasing "the use of palm oil from certified sustainable sources in Malaysia to about 80 per cent by year-end." This comes on the heels of Nestle's global commitment to use only sustainable palm oil by 2015.
This is an important breakthrough because Malaysia is one of the top producers of palm oil in the world.
In fact, in 2008, nearly 18 tons of palm oil was produced, with nearly 60% of it heading out of the country. Places like China, the United States, India, European Union, and India all receive palm oil from Malaysia.
Nestle Malaysia making this step forward in their production process is very important in the region and the world. This may mark the beginning of a larger trend as more and more companies shift from production and purchasing of unsustainable palm oil. Other companies listed on this blog have named a new other groups that have committed to using more sustainable palm oil, such as SC Johnson and the Girl Scouts. But for a company like Nestle, one of the largest food producers and brands in the world, to shift to sustainable palm oil is remarkable.
The shift for Nestle Malaysia will be more rapid than that of the whole of the Nestle company and other companies due to the relationship Nestle Malaysia has with local plantations and farmers. These relationships will help Nestle Malaysia (and Nestle as a whole) to know where they are getting their raw materials from. A feat few other companies can do. Not even Nestle itself can accurately trace their raw materials.
How? Because like many large companies, they buy from a supplier, not the grower directly. Nestle Malaysia hopes to break this trend.
Knowing where a company's raw materials come from is important because it reveals if the raw materials are safe and sustainable. In the case of Nestle Malaysia, they aim to do both in order to protect the safety of the customer as well as the environment as a whole.
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