Corporate Responsibility: Monitor

Ed Matthew, corporate accountability campaigner, Friends of the Earth

Palm oil plantations are the biggest cause of forest destruction in south-east Asia because they remove the forest entirely and with it the native forest ecosystem. They are associated with a lot of problems in the region, including major biodiversity loss, worker health issues, human rights abuses and forest fires.

Palm oil is used in most processed food products, particularly chocolate bars, and we recently campaigned against businesses that buy it, of which Cadbury is one. In response, it joined an initiative called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, comprising NGOs, industry and governments. Its aim is to find a way of producing palm oil without destroying forests.

Cadbury only faced up to the problem when we alerted it, but out of more than 100 UK firms that are very closely linked to the palm oil market, Cadbury is one of just three or four that have joined the roundtable.

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