Background

FDF members are concerned about the destruction of rainforests and peat fields in South East Asia caused by the creation of palm oil plantations and the effect this is having on the environment, particularly in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity.

That is why many FDF members are committed to working with their supply chain partners to achieve 100% use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) – using various mechanisms from GreenPalm certificates to segregation.

Policy position

The FDF supports the work of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil and to bring CSPO to the market through a multilateral process that includes all stakeholders in the palm oil supply chain. FDF believes that credible and effective progress can only be made through a legitimate multi-stakeholder organisation like the RSPO, which takes account of all relevant factors impacting on the supply chain and commands market confidence in its approach to sustainability certification.

A key challenge is that many food manufacturers use certain parts of palm oil, known as fractions as well as blends. Some of these complex fractions or blends are not currently available as CSPO. FDF therefore supports the continuing efforts by the global marketplace to establish a solution that will deliver sufficient supplies of competitively priced CSPO across all complex fractions.

Palm oil is an important and versatile raw material for both the food and non-food industries. Whilst palm oil is cost-effective, it is also a key raw material because of its unique physical properties, being a particularly consistent ingredient that is very compatible with certain ingredients such as in chocolate.

Palm oil is invariably blended with other oils and fats like sunflower or rapeseed oil to produce food products. Palm oil fractions and kernel oil have played an important role in recent years in eliminating trans-fatty acids from manufactured foods. It specifically enables the continued provision of solid fats for use by food manufacturers.

There is also increasing consumer demand for food made with ingredients that are not GM-derived or of animal origin. UK food and drink manufacturers can continue to provide choice for these consumers by using a non-GM vegetable oil such as palm.
Furthermore, palm oil produces the highest yield of oil per unit area. Therefore, careful consideration would need to be given to moving away from the use of palm oil in case alternative ingredients were to place an even greater strain on the environment.

Sustainable palm oil - guidance

Guidance: Sustainable Palm Oil: Five steps to ensure responsible sourcing

19 December 2014

Palm oil is the world’s most widely used vegetable oil. It appears as an ingredient in many food and non-food products, such as soaps, biscuits, cosmetics, animal feed and cleaning products. The FDF developed a guide with the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) to help members ensure responsible sourcing.

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