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Submitted by: Seventh Generation
Posted: Mar 13, 2009 – 03:01 PM EST
BURLINGTON, VT -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 03/13/09 -- Seventh Generation, the nation's leading brand of non-toxic, environmentally safe household solutions, announced today that it has become the first company in its industry in North America to purchase sustainable palm kernel oil certification credits to offset company wide use of the ingredient across its entire product line. By purchasing the credits, Seventh Generation is paying a premium to palm kernel oil producers that use more environmentally responsible practices to produce and harvest palm kernel oil. This credit purchase is an important first step in creating segregated sustainable palm kernel oil supply chain used in Seventh Generation products.
One of the world's most widely used vegetable oils, palm and palm kernel oil are an important ingredient in an array of consumer products, from foods and pharmaceuticals to personal care items and household detergents, and is found in more than 50% of products on grocery store shelves. It's a primary component in the natural vegetable-based surfactants Seventh Generation uses in its cleaning products.
"Our company is one of the country's largest non-food users of palm oil," said Seventh Generation President and Chief Inspired Protagonist Jeffrey Hollender. "If it's not sustainably produced, ultimately our cleaners aren't sustainable either. We have to transform the industry -- not just for the sake of our own products, but for the future of the world. We've dedicated ourselves to leading that effort and reversing the devastating impact palm oil is having on people, on ecosystems, and on the global climate."
That impact is far larger than most people realize. A six-fold increase in global demand for palm oil in recent years has led to deforestation on a massive scale in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. "One fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions stem from deforestation, and one of the major drivers of deforestation is palm oil," said Leila Salazar-Lopez of Rainforest Action Network (RAN). "Actions from forward-looking companies like Seventh Generation are needed to roll back the devastating impacts of rainforest destruction happening because of palm oil."
The United Nations Environment Programme reports that palm oil plantations are one of the leading causes of rainforest and peatlands loss in Indonesia and Malaysia. This devastation is an important contributor to the global climate crisis: Emissions from the clearing of tropical forests are the world's fifth largest source of greenhouse gases. Destruction of Indonesia's peatlands, for example, emits 1.8 billion tons per year. That's 4% of the world's emissions from just 0.1% of its land area. Palm oil production is also imperiling indigenous peoples and endangered species like the Sumatran rhinoceros, Asian elephant, tiger, and orangutan.
"The loss of habitat to palm oil production is perhaps the single greatest threat to the orangutan," says Dr. Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund. "There are less than 75,000 of these animals left in the wild. If the work of Seventh Generation and other companies can help prevent further habitat from vanishing, we'll have a chance at preventing the extinction of this species."
To begin this important work, Seventh Generation has become the first business in its industry in North America to purchase palm kernel oil credits. These credits are in essence a premium paid to producers of more environmentally responsible palm oil so they can make the changes and create necessary programs and infrastructure to reduce adverse impacts of this important product.
The credits, which cover 100% of the palm kernel oil Seventh Generation uses, are the first step in a much larger initiative that will ultimately allow the company to ensure that all the palm kernel oil it purchases is produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. This initiative will involve a variety of strategies to be implemented in 2009, starting with membership on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, support of Greenpeace's call for an immediate moratorium on the conversion of Southeast Asian rainforests and peatlands to palm production, exploring partnerships to support sustainability in local palm growing communities in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and implementing a plan to move the company and eventually the world market to an environmentally certified palm oil supply.
Seventh Generation's sustainable palm oil initiative is a critical part of the company's design philosophy, which seeks to embed maximum sustainability in every stage of each product's entire life cycle from the production of its raw materials to its eventual end-of-life disposal. "Changing the palm oil industry is a concrete manifestation of the holistic perspective we're applying to the things we make," says Hollender. "But more importantly, it's a way we can send out ripples of positive change that will eventually create a wave. We've always believed that one company could change the world. With palm oil, we're going to prove it."
About Seventh Generation
Seventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for your living home. Our products are healthy and safe for the air, the surfaces, the fabrics, the pets, and the people within your home -- and for the community and environment outside of it. Seventh Generation also offers products for baby that are safe for your children and the planet.
For information on Seventh Generation cleaning, paper, baby and feminine personal care products, to find store locations, and explore the company's website visit www.seventhgeneration.com. To read more about Seventh Generation's corporate responsibility, visit the Corporate Consciousness Report at: www.seventhgeneration.com/corporate-responsibility/2007.
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