Under the new Food Information for Consumers (FIC) regulation, which came into effect last week, companies must now specify if they use palm oil in the ingredients list, instead of using the generic term ‘vegetable oil’.
In October 2012, the UK said it would “work towards achieving 100% sourcing of credibly certified sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015”. Currently, up to 71% of palm oil imports to the UK are either certified as sustainable or covered by GreenPalm certificates – but the figure could be as low as 55% because of huge differences in trade data, the UK government says.
Meanwhile, many companies have made commitments to source 100% of their palm oil from sustainably by the end of next year.
To help firms meet their commitment, FDF has teamed with Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) to produce a guide, titled ‘Sustainable Palm Oil – Five Steps to Ensure Responsible Sourcing’. It provides guidance on developing and meeting commitments, and a step-by-step approach to mapping the use of palm oil.
“We have seen continued progress in the last year with a growing number of companies having successfully achieved their original commitments,” said FDF director general Melanie Leech. “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.”
The FDF said it would also present a webinar with CPET on January 19 to help inform companies of the practical issues around sustainably sourced palm oil.