The Co-operative Moves On Palm Oil
Released on: October 21, 2011, 8:33 am
Author: Kieran Howlett
The Co-operative Group has become the largest UK supermarket to certify all of its
palm oil use as sustainable.
The move by the consumer-owned retailer will help to protect endangered species,
such as the orang-utan and the Sumatran tiger, as well as safeguard the future of
The retailer is purchasing accredited GreenPalm certificates from a co-operative of
smallholders who are producing sustainable palm oil, accredited by the Roundtable on
Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
The premium the smallholders receive helps them to build capacity for further
production of sustainable palm oil.
Palm oil, which is used in modern food products, such as biscuits, pies and ready
meals is one of the largest drivers of global deforestation, with Malaysia and
Indonesia, which have some of the richest rainforests on the planet, accounting for
90% of production worldwide. These rainforests provide refuge for endangered species
such as the orang-utan, the Sumatran tiger, elephants and rhinos. Further
deforestation on Indonesian and Malaysian islands (Borneo, Sarawak and Sumatra) will
push these species closer to extinction.
As part of its groundbreaking Ethical Plan launched earlier this year, The Co-operative committed to be a leading UK
retailer on forest protection, and to move its palm oil sourcing to a sustainable
footing by the end of 2011.
The retailer has achieved its target ahead of schedule, meaning that 4,729 tonnes of
palm oil used annually will be certified as sustainable via one of the four
certification systems agreed by the RSPO.
The Co-operative has also been working to increase the number of its own-brand
products that contain fully traceable, certified sustainable palm oil, aiming to
ensure all palm oil used as an ingredient in The Co-operative brand products come
from this system by 2015. This move will further help customers of The Co-operative
Food stores to make ethical and
sustainable choices in store. It currently has 81 own-brand products that contain
fully traceable, sustainable palm oil.
Sean Toal, Acting Chief Executive, The Co-operative Food, said: "Deforestation and
the loss of natural habitat for the orang-utan and other endangered species are
major issues, but, as a consumer-owned retailer, we are determined to play our part
in supporting sustainable solutions."
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private
shareholders but by almost six million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food
retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services
provider, operating The Co-operative Bank, Britannia and The Co-operative Insurance.
Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and
Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and
operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability
goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in
The Group operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets, employs more than 110,000
people and has an annual turnover of £13.7bn. Further information is available at www.co-operative.coop
For more information please contact:
Senior Public Relations Officer
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 0161 266 3592
Mob: 07739 657 585
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