photo: one Village Initiative via flickr
TreeHugger has given Seventh Generation plenty of coverage for its line of eco-friendly cleaning products and recycled paper products. Now it's worthwhile pointing out that the Burlington, Vermont-based company has taken a further step down the green path: Purchasing sustainable palm oil certification credits for its entire product line, becoming the first company in North America to do so. Here's how this process works:No Segregated Source of Sustainable Palm Oil, Yet
Seventh Generation is quick to point out that at this point it's not possible to buy from a segregated supply of sustainably produced palm oil, so purchasing the certification credits is the next best thing. The credits are managed through GreenPalm.org and are purchased from Sime Darby and New Britain Palm Oil (both of which have been certified as adhering to sustainable practices by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). Each credit purchase represents a premium paid to these producers for a tonne of palm oil.
RSPO Not Perfect, But Step in Right Direction
Heading off criticism regarding the shortcomings of the RSPO, Seventh Generation said that some of these are deserved:
The RSPO has been slow to move given the magnitude of the problem, and in some case have engaged in practices that would be hard to describe in any other way than greenwashing. However, we are encouraged by the recent movement of Unilever, the chair of the RSPO, and others who have taken some important steps in recent months, including supporting Greenpeace's call for a moratorium on the conversion of peatlands to palm plantations. This is a positive development, and one we strongly support.
So, in short, though the system is not perfect, Seventh Generation says that buying these certification credits is "an important first step in creating a segregated sustainable palm kernel oil supply chain" for use in its products.
More (including a great summary of why the way in which palm oil is commonly produced is a very serious environmental problem): Seventh Generation
Greenpeace Activists Detain Palm Oil Tanker: Where Do Readers Stand on Direct Action?
Southeast Asia Paying High Environmental Cost for Palm Oil
UN Says Palm Oil is Wiping Out the Orangutan
Clean Air or Clean Hair? Palm Oil in Everything
Malaysia and Indonesia to Expand Domestic Palm Oil Biodiesel as Commodity Price Drop