UPDATE 1-General Mills makes palm oil pledge

Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:37pm BST

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* Pledges 100 pct of palm oil to be sustainable by '15

* Joins Burger King, Nestle, Unilever in addressing issue

NEW YORK, Sept 22 (Reuters) - General Mills Inc (GIS.N) committed on Wednesday to buy more of its palm oil from sustainable sources, the latest salvo in a growing fight against tropical deforestation.

The maker of Cheerios cereal and Progresso soups said that by 2015 it aims to buy all of its palm oil from "responsible and sustainable sources".

Its objective is "to help ensure our purchases are not associated in any way with deforestation of the world's rainforests - and to further reinforce the development of certified sustainable palm oil production practices."

General Mills, which also reported quarterly results on Wednesday, said its use of palm oil represents about one-tenth of one percent of world production. [ID:nN2299767]

General Mills is the latest in a list of large firms including Burger King Holdings Inc BKC.N, Nestle (NESN.VX) and Unilever (ULVR.L) to scrutinize its suppliers of palm oil, which largely comes from tropical nations like Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. The oil is used in a variety of products ranging from make-up to chocolate.

The palm oil industry is at odds with environmental conservationists who are concerned about environmental sustainability and rainforests.[ID:nJAK532190]

(Reporting by Martinne Geller)

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