Under the new EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation, all food business operators in the UK must identify which of their products contain palm oil, to tackle the issue of companies disguising palm oil as generic vegetable oil.

Concerns have been expressed about the sustainability of palm oil in Asia and Africa and the impact of large-scale deforestation and CO2 emissions.

National governments are now working to make palm oil production more sustainable and efficient without further destruction of rainforests.

‘Sustainable Palm Oil – Five Steps to Ensure Responsible Sourcing’ has been developed together with Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) and provides a step-by-step approach to mapping the use of palm oil.

> Step 1  – Check and map the use of palm oil
> Step 2  – Identify impacts, risks & opportunities
> Step 3  – Commit to sourcing certified sustainable palm oil
> Step 4  – Develop a roadmap to achieve the commitment
> Step 5  – Implement, track, review and communicate

Sustainable sourcing

FDF director general Melanie Leech said: “As global demand for palm oil is rising rapidly and consumers are increasingly seeking reassurance that the products they buy have been sustainably sourced, it makes good business sense to assess your use of this vital ingredient.

“Many of our members have long-standing public commitments to source 100% certified sustainable palm oil and we have seen continued progress in the last year with a growing number of companies having successfully achieved their original commitments.

“Leading manufacturers have announced revised commitments and action plans to source 100% traceable oil that exceeds Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification standards. We hope that this new guide will help food and drink manufacturers of all sizes plan a strategic and actionable approach to sourcing palm oil more sustainably.”

A supporting webinar is being developed with CPET which will take place on 19 January, 2015 to help inform companies about practical issues around sustainably sourced palm oil.

Lois Vallely

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