Big brands: Palm oil policy

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The Independent asked leading food companies for their policies on palm oil. Many organisations who produce or use palm oil are members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO certifies as sustainable a small amount of palm oil - currently about 2 per cent of global production, forecast to rise to 4 per cent by the end of 2009. Unilever and the WWF want manufacturers and retailers to buy this sustainable palm oil.

MANUFACTURERS

Company: Kellogg’s

Turnover: £8.5bn

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: We do not currently use RSPO certified palm oil but Kellogg’s as a member of RSPO has committed to develop and implement plans of action to promote sustainable palm oil production, procurement and consumption.



Company: Northern Foods

Turnover: £931m

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: Yes

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: 2015

Comment: We use palm oil as a substitute for hydrogenated vegetable oil in some products including pizza and ready meals. This will also (for own label products) partly depend on the recipe requirements of the retailer whose own brand the product is sold under.



Company: Cadbury

Turnover: £5.4bn

Palm oil (tonnes): 40,000 tonnes

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil:No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: NO

Comment: Although we only use around 40,000 tonnes of palm oil, compared to the millions of tonnes used by others, we have been keen to develop sustainable sources, encouraging others to do the same and to use those sources to help minimise the impact of palm oil production and maintain natural ecosystems.



Company: Nestle

Turnover: £65bn

Palm oil (tonnes): 0.5 per cent of world production

Member of RSPO: No

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: Nestlé does not use crude palm oil but rather buys products derived from crude palm oil from reputable manufacturers. About 95 per cent of this oil comes from suppliers who are members of the RSPO and who therefore have a declared commitment to sustainable sourcing.



Company: Procter & Gamble

Turnover: £55bn

Palm oil (tonnes): 300,000

Member of RSPO: Not disclosed

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No (but promises to have a “sustainable supply” by 2015)

Comment: We will continue to work with our partners and suppliers on a programme that will meet both industry expectations and P&G principles of sustainability by 2015.







Company: Heinz

Turnover: £6.7bn

Palm oil (tonnes): "A very minor user"

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: We are a very minor user or palm oil such as for frying, and our policy is that we only use palm oil that is produced in a sustainable manner, based on economic, social and environmental viability.





Company: United Biscuits

Turnover: £1.1bn

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: 2012

Comment: UB aims to reduce the amount of palm oil used in its products and looks to develop a segregated sustainable palm oil source from its suppliers. Since 2005 UB has reduced the amount of palm oil it uses by 40 per cent and this programme is ongoing.



Company: Mars

Turnover: £14bn

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Openness on products: No

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil:

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: We do use palm oil in our chocolate, but only work with palm oil suppliers who respect the environment and are committed to working with all stakeholders to make progress towards sustainable production. We strongly support the movement towards sustainable production of palm oil. We only use palm oil suppliers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the only organisation of its kind. Our aim is to move to 100 per cent RSPO certified palm oil, originating from sustainable sources.







Company: Unilever

Turnover: £35.6bn

Palm oil (tonnes): 1.6m tonnes (4.2 per cent of global production - believed to be world’s biggest user)

Member of RSPO: Yes (founding member)

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: Yes

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: 2015

Comment: Unilever has pledged that by 2015, 100 per cent of its palm oil will be certified sustainable. We hope that, through leading by example, our actions will prompt more widespread responsible behaviour in the palm oil industry.



Company: Reckitt Benckiser

Turnover: £6.5bn

Palm oil (tonnes): 0.2 per cent of global production

Openness on products: No

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: We are currently actively engaged in discussions with a range of stakeholders - including Greenpeace, major palm oil suppliers and our peer group - about both how the new RSPO-led certification scheme for palm oil will work and is working, and about ways in which the sustainability of palm oil can be further assured going forward.



Company: Premier

Turnover: £2.6bn

Palm oil (tonnes):

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: 2011

Comment: Premier Foods is concerned over the environmental and social impacts of buying of palm oil from South East Asia and in response the company and its palm oil suppliers are all members of the RSPO. RSPO-certified palm oil is in short supply and we are unable to procure it in a consistent way so cannot make any meaningful claims to its use currently.





Company: Kraft

Turnover: £25bn

Palm oil (tonnes): 0.5 per cent of world supply

Member of RSPO: No

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: 2015

Comment: We have asked our suppliers who are RSPO members to take measures to ensure deforestation in palm oil production. We have expressed our support for the principles on the moratorium on further deforestation and our support for the RSPO process that will oblige our suppliers to achieve full certification of plantations by 2015. However we believe more work is needed on standards and enforcement before we can say RSPO certification is the answer.



Company: Pepsico

Turnover: £29bn

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: Having made a concerted effort to phase out the use of palm oil over the past few years, we currently use it in just two products, Quaker Oat Granola and Nobby’s Nuts, which together represent significantly less than 1 per cent of our total UK portfolio. We will have removed palm oil from Quaker Oat Granola by early 2010 and are in the process of finding an alternative for relevant varieties of Nobby’s Nuts.





RETAILERS (OWN-BRAND PRODUCTS)

Company: Tesco

Turnover: £51bn

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: 2015

Comment: As members of the RSPO we are committed to the growth and use of sustainable palm oil and already ensure full traceability back to crude palm oil from RSPO members - we are also committed to certified oil and are creating systems to deliver this for the derivatives in our products.







Company: Asda

Turnover: Not disclosed

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No (but has given a commitment to move to RSPO certification)

Comment: We are asking suppliers to asses the origin of their palm oil and requesting them to be working towards full RSPO status for all their supplies. At present palm oil sourced from Borneo ands Sumatra in not acceptable at ASDA. We recognise the challenge this represents for all in the palm oil supply chain but the time for action has come if we are assist Orangutan to survive.





Company: Sainsbury's

Turnover: £19.2bn

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: Yes (730 tonnes)

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: 2014

Comment: Sainsbury’s is the largest and only UK retailer to buy palm oil from the first plantation to achieve RSPO certification, and this palm oil is now being used across our entire frozen fish range.





Company: Morrisons

Turnover: £14.5bn

Palm oil (tonnes): Not disclosed

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: We are committed to encouraging the responsible sourcing of palm oil and ensure its cultivation is not threatening forests or natural habitats. We joined the RSPO to help promote best practice for the cultivation and use of sustainable palm oil throughout the supply chain.



Company: Co-operative Group

Turnover: £9.1bn

Palm oil (tonnes): 45,000 tonnes (2007)

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: Currently we require all our suppliers to be sourcing material from companies that are members of RSPO, but recognise this as a temporary measure. As such, we have been working closely with suppliers to look for opportunities to incorporate sustainable palm into own-brand products. In line with our honest labelling policy, you will find that we label palm oil in the ingredients list of all our own- brand products. This is not a legal requirement and the majority of other retailers will choose to use the generic 'vegetable oil' instead.



Company: Marks & Spencer

Turnover: £9bn

Palm oil (tonnes): “Small user” (less than 1 per cent of palm oil imported into the UK).

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: No (awaiting certification for suppliers)

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: We have identified all of our products that contain palm oil and we have a clear plan in place to reduce our use of palm oil and replace it with suitable alternatives. We recognise the damaging impact of the palm oil industry in valuable forest regions and are working with the WWF to provide funding for the Heart of Borneo project. The project aims to rehabilitate an important forest 'corridor' which joins up two previously split areas of the forest to allow animals (namely orang-utans) to roam freely between the two areas - increasing their habitat and therefore their chance of survival.





Company: Waitrose

Turnover: £4bn

Palm oil (tonnes): Did not disclose

Member of RSPO: Yes

Uses RSPO-certified palm oil: Yes, ‘trialling’ Green Palm scheme

Date for RSPO-only palm oil: No

Comment: Working with other members of the RSPO, we have been helping to devise systems to trace palm oil back to the plantation. These systems must be in place before palm oil certified as sustainable can be purchased in any quantity, and we are extremely keen for this to be achieved so that we can buy fully certified palm oil for all our food.



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