Some of our products do indeed contain palm oil. We're aware that palm oil cultivation can be a contributor to deforestation and climate change, and have a direct impact on the natural habitat of orang-utans and other wildlife.
We're committed to sourcing with integrity, it is one of our core values. Our Sustainability Plan commits us to sourcing our palm oil sustainably and ensuring our own brand products don’t contribute to global deforestation by 2020. By the end of 2016/17 over 98% of the palm oil used in our own brand products was certified sustainable, and we are currently working on updating this figure for 2017/18. We are working hard to ensure the remaining volume is converted as soon as possible.
Over 1700 of our own brand products including biscuits and pies now use certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). We have achieved a leading market position particularly across non-food health and beauty and household products. Our by Sainsbury’s lemon washing up liquid, for example, was a UK supermarket first in terms of using certified sustainable (mass balance) palm oil.
We source palm oil that has been certified according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) criteria. The RSPO is a global initiative which encourages palm oil production in a way that helps to reduce deforestation, promotes biodiversity and respects the livelihoods of rural communities. Growers who meet the RSPO standard must be audited and certified by an independent body to show they have, amongst other things, not deforested primary rainforest or destroyed areas of high biodiversity. Certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) is then sourced through approved segregated or mass balance (‘mixed’) supply chains to reach our products.
We do not preclude the use of palm oil in our products. We believe that if palm oil is grown and managed correctly it is a sustainable choice of vegetable oil. This is because the yield of oil that comes from palm oil trees is more than double any other vegetable oil. Put simply, if everyone decided to change from palm oil to other vegetable oils we would need double the amount of land to produce the same amount of oil. This could potentially lead to more deforestation which is exactly what we are trying to avoid in the first place. The issue is not with palm oil itself but with ensuring palm oil is grown in a responsible way and in the right place and sourcing RSPO palm oil helps achieve this.
We are also committed to honest and transparent labelling. We were the first British supermarket to identify palm oil rather than ‘vegetable oil’ on the labels of all fresh and chilled food, and we now label all major palm oil ingredients in all of our food products.
If you need more information please feel free to visit our corporate website.