Xmas food and palm oil


MEDIA RELEASE FROM ETHICAL CONSUMER MAGAZINE & RAINFOREST FOUNDATION UK

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DECEMBER 17th 2013

 

CHOOSING ETHICALLY SOURCED CHRISTMAS PUDS & MINCE PIES CAN HELP REDUCE THREATS TO RAINFORESTS

 

A new survey reveals that a growing number of seasonal foods including Christmas puddings and mince pies now only use palm oil which is produced in way that reduces harm to the world’s rainforests.

Many of the biggest names in Christmas party food including the Co-operative Group, M&S, Premier Food and Waitrose makers of some of the UK's most popular Christmas puddings and mince pies, have all made a commitment to reduce or only use sustainably sourced palm oil in their products.

In the survey carried out by the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and Ethical Consumer magazine some of the UK's biggest Christmas party food companies were surveyed on their use of palm oil or its derivatives.

The survey was carried out in response to the increasing threat that unsustainable palm oil is posing to the world’s rainforests, and consequently, to the people that rely almost entirely on these forests for their livelihoods.

Having destroyed vast areas of forest in countries including Indonesia which is home to orang utans, palm oil companies are now planning to expand into the rainforests of the Congo Basin in Africa, home to lowland gorillas and chimpanzees.

 

Simon Counsell, Executive Director of The Rainforest Foundation UK said:

“We commend the producers of Christmas party treats that have committed to reducing or using only sustainably sourced palm oil because by doing so, they are helping to ensure the long-term survival of Africa’s rainforest, its people and unique wildlife.”

 

The top scoring companies in the survey include the Co-op, M&S, Premier Foods and Waitrose. 

The bottom scoring companies include ASDA/Wal-mart, Iceland and Mondelez International.

 

Leonie Nimmo, researcher at Ethical Consumer said:

“Our latest research shows that some companies have put their commitments to sustainable palm oil into practice and made significant changes in their supply chains.”

“However, others, including Tesco, ASDA and Cadbury still have a serious amount of work to do to address the issue across their global operations.”

 

The Christmas party food survey is the latest initiative of a campaign to encourage consumers to buy products that have the top rated palm oil policies, forcing those companies that are not taking their environmental responsibilities seriously to use more sustainably sourced palm oil.

Details of the ethical palm oil score for many other products can also be found in the Rainforest Foundation’s online guide, here:

http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/Christmas_Party_Food

 

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

1. The full product guide can be seen here:

http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/Christmas_Party_Food

 

2. RFUK and Ethical Consumer’s collaborative guide Appetite for Destruction was launched this Easter with information on chocolate Easter eggs. Over the next six months additional categories have been added to the guide, with more to follow. The Guide is available here: 

www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/palmoil

 

3. Palm oil is a core ingredient in many food products and companies are not required by EU law to label products containing it until December 2014.

 

4. According to the recent RFUK report Seeds of Destruction, one million acres of rainforest in the Congo Basin is currently being developed by palm oil producers, and with 284 million acres of suitable soil in the region, developers are actively seeking large sites now. 

 

It also details the huge impacts that the current and future development will have on the 500,000

indigenous people living in the endangered rainforest. 

 

For the full report and the responses of palm oil developers active in the Congo basin prior to the publication of the report visit:

www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/palmoilreport

 

 

5. Methodology

Ethical Consumer has ranked companies’ practices and policies in relation to their palm oil sourcing for the joint Rainforest Foundation UK and Ethical Consumer palm oil campaign. For a full

breakdown of the methodology adopted to conduct this research, please visit:

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalcampaigns/palmoilcampaign/palmoilcampaignmethodology.aspx