Knowledge for better food systems

UK: Statement on sustainable palm oil

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) recently released a statement saying that by the end of 2015 all palm oil used in central Government food and catering services will come from environmentally friendly sources. However, Defra’s statement has come under fire from groups such as WWF-UK and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), who say the agreement is too weak and requires participation by other sectors to have a substantial impact.

Palm oil is one of the world's most rapidly expanding food crops and is used extensively in the food industry as frying fats, and as an ingredient in biscuits, margarine, snacks and bakery products. Its production has been linked to the destruction of rainforest habitats in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and it is a growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, which come from clearing forests for crop cultivation.

For DEFRA’s statement, click here.
For WWF-UK’s response, click here.
For BRC’s response, click here.
For coverage in The Guardian, click here.
In related news, Greenpeace released the Palm Oil Producer’s scorecard, which gives an overview of how effective palm oil producers are at limiting their impact on forests and peatlands. For more information, click here.

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