Palm oil buyers should get ready for a thorough inspection from the World Wildlife Fund, which plans on evaluating the world's biggest palm oil purchasers for a "buyer's scorecard". The scorecard will reveal which companies use sustainable palm oil as well as those who haven't followed through on their commitments.
Use of palm oil has doubled over the past four years, possibly as a result of concerns about trans fats in food produced from soy oil, rapeseed, and sunflower. But sustainable palm oil use has not grown as quickly, According to the WWF, 1.3 million tons of certified sustainable palm oil has been produced, but less than 15,000 tons have been purchased--probably because sustainably produced palm oil costs an extra $50 a ton. It's a trend that threatens the world's rainforests, as palm oil production has cleared the habitats of endangered species like tigers, elephants and orangutans.
Palm oil is used by companies including L'Oreal, Palmolive, Unilever and Cadbury in items like soaps, cosmetics, biofuels, and chocolate bars. But those companies with something to hide won't be able to stay under the radar for long. The WWF's scorecard will be ready in six months.