Sustainability | Sustainable Palm Oil

Buying better palm oil

Palm oil is one of the safest and most useful oils around. It ends up in a lot of the products we buy, from chocolate to medicines.

The problem is that because it’s so useful, demand is high. In the last ten years, global production has doubled. By the year 2000, palm oil was the most produced and traded vegetable oil in the world (FAO).

This can obviously have a huge impact on the areas where it’s grown, as man-made plantations affect the environment, wildlife and surrounding communities. We won’t ban the use of palm oil, but we will work extremely hard to source it sustainably, and persuade other businesses like ours to do the same.

Borneo and Sumatra are home to many palm oil plantations, and many endangered species like the orang-utan and Sumatran tiger are losing the habitats where they live. So In 2007, we told our suppliers that we would no longer accept palm oil from Borneo or Sumatra in private label products, and by 2009 we had made it happen.

We’ve made this choice to help protect the habitat of orang-utans,and also to bring the palm oil issue to the attention of other big businesses. We’re proud to have been one of the first businesses to sign up to the Unilever-WWF joint project on sustainable palm oil in 2008.

We know it’s not something we’ll be able to change overnight, but as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an association created to promote the production and use of sustainable palm oil, we’re committed to making positive changes across the business.

This means that by 2015 all our palm oil will come from sustainable sources. As part of the Walmart Group we’ve also made a global promise that all our own brand products will be made with sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015.

These are big commitments, but ones we think are very important. This is why, with our global partner Walmart, we’re leading the way and taking action on our new Sustainable Agriculture initiative.

To read more information about our groundbreaking work being recognised by WWF visit our Aisle Spy blog.

Posted in Sustainability | Sustainable Palm Oil on 21 February 2011