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Sysco Palm Oil Sourcing Policy

WHEREAS: Palm oil is found in approximately 50% of all consumer goods including foods and cosmetics. Global production of palm oil has doubled over the last decade, and demand is expected to double again by 2020.
The production of palm oil is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to deforestation, degradation and conversion of peatland, and fires set for establishing plantations. Tropical deforestation has been estimated to be the source of approximately 15% percent of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
Ninety percent of current global palm oil production occurs in Malaysia and Indonesia, mostly on industrial plantations that have severe impacts on the environment, local communities, and the climate. Approximately 97% of palm oil imported into the United States originates in Indonesia and Malaysia.
An estimated 200 million indigenous people and local populations depend primarily on forests for their livelihood. These forests also contain important biodiversity, and provide critical habitat to numerous highly endangered species. Worldwide, the loss of the ecosystem services provided by the forests was estimated in 2008 to cost the global economy 2-$5 trillion annually.
Regulatory initiatives and incentives to combat climate change and reduce GHG emissions have proliferated in recent years. At the international level, countries are collaborating on policies relating to deforestation. Indonesia has committed to reduce its emissions by 26% by 2020.
The environmental and social impacts of palm oil make this product highly controversial. Failure to manage the reputational risk of deforestation in supply chains has been disruptive for a number of high profile brands including Mattel and Nestle.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed I n2004 as an industry-led initiative to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products. Producers, distributors, investors, conservationists and other stakeholders take part in the RSPO today.
Unilever, Nestle, Kraft and many other major companies have committed to source 100% RSPO certified palm oil by 2015. Some major companies have cancelled contracts with one of Indonesia’s biggest and most controversial palm oil producers, Sinar Mas, following reports that the company was violating Indonesian law and the Principles and Criteria of the RSPO.
Certain Sysco branded products contain palm oil or palm oil derivatives, yet our company lacks a policy for addressing the significant reputational risks related to palm oil.
THEREFORE, be it resolved, that shareholders request that the board of directors adopt and implement a comprehensive sustainable palm oil policy.
Supporting Statement: We recommend the policy include:
·      a target date for sourcing 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil for Sysco brand products;
·      plans to verify suppliers’ compliance with the policy;
·      supporting a moratorium on palm oil expansion in rainforests, high carbon stock forests (containing greater than 35 tons of carbon per hectare) and peatlands; and
·      a commitment to regularly disclose the company’s progress on this issue.