Avon Makes Industry-First Commitment to 100% Sustainable Palm Oil

Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE: AVP) is the first major beauty company to commit to 100% sustainable palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Although Avon is not a major user of palm oil (less than 100 tons annually), the company has made the commitment to purchase GreenPalm certificates covering all of its global palm oil use beginning in July. The certificates help drive demand for sustainable palm oil, increase the supply for sustainable palm oil, and maintain biodiversity and habitat for endangered species.

In support of this commitment, Avon has joined the RSPO. Although more than 80%of palm oil is used for food products, it is also an ingredient in many cosmetics and personal care products. Palm oil production has come under criticism for destroying rain forests and peatland across Southeast Asia, leading to habitat destruction and high carbon emissions.

"GreenPalm enables brands to give genuine support to those in the palm oil industry who are working without harm to people, animals or the environment, and to give others a commercial incentive to use sustainable methods approved by the RSPO," said Bob Norman, general manager of GreenPalm. "It’s no surprise that Avon, a brand with a strong ethical track record, is leading the way in supporting sustainable palm oil production."

The company’s new Palm Oil Promise is part of its 2011 Hello Green Tomorrow initiatives that also include new global fundraising efforts.

In 2010, concurrent with the initial launch of its Hello Green Tomorrow program, Avon announced the Avon Paper Promise, a comprehensive policy outlining efforts and goals for promoting sustainable forest use, protecting forests, and reducing demands on forests. Among Avon’s goals is the commitment to purchase 100% of its paper from certified and or post-consumer recycled content sources within ten years, with a certification preference of Forest Stewardship Council. Currently, 74% of Avon’s brochure paper meets the commitments, Avon said.

This month, Avon also is launching the second year of its grassroots fundraising and mobilization program to help restore critically endangered rain forests. Commencing in mid-April and rolling out through the year, all proceeds from the sale of unique Avon fundraising items in more than 50 countries will be contributed to The Nature Conservancy for restoration of the Atlantic Rain Forest in South America and, new this year, to the World Wildlife Fund for its work in the tropical forests of Indonesia (Borneo and Sumatra).

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