Palm Oil Free Products

Last updated: 8th December 2015

 

The Problem with Palm Oil

 

Demand for palm oil has undergone phenomenal growth in recent years and is expected to more than double by 2030 and triple by 2050.

Increased production has involved the clearing of virgin forest and peatlands in South East Asia, spelling disaster for local communities, biodiversity and climate change. Indonesia alone already has over 6 million hectares of plantations.

The forest and peatland fires which raged in Indonesia in 2015 were a legacy of decades of destruction by palm oil and paper companies. Almost 40% of deforestation between 2011 and 2013 happened in land used by these industries.

Deforestation is pushing the orang-utan closer to the brink of extinction, with 4% of what remains of the animal's Indonesian habitat lost in just those two years.

The demand for palm oil is fed by the food and cosmetics industries, and increasingly for use in biofuels. 

Consumers increasingly want to avoid the ingredient where possible, but it's a tricky task as it's used in so many products - more than 50% of supermarket products from margarine and oven chips to soaps and detergents.  

 

 

 

Buy or Boycott?

 

We are urging readers to boycott products from companies that aren't using 100% responsibly sourced palm oil now. Promising to source responsibly in the future is no longer good enough. You may also choose to avoid products containing any palm oil, whether it be sustainably sourced or not. 

As consumers we need to use our power at the check out to continue to drive change in the palm oil industry.

Pushing companies to buy certified sustainable palm oil or to use alternaves to palm oil is one clear way of doing this.

You can use our palm oil free list to see which products are free from palm oil and which companies score best for their palm oil sourcing ranking on our scoring system.

There is a growing recognition that even if all the big western manufacturers stopped using palm oil, the problems of unsustainable production would not go away.

India and China each consume more palm oil than the EU, and production is projected to increase 50% by 2020.At the same time, Indonesia has just increased subsidies to boost palm oil production for biofuel.

If countries with more developed consumer campaigns turn away from palm oil altogether, the most damaging forms of production may prevail.

This is why choosing companies that use palm oil alternatives or those that buy 100% sustainable palm oil makes sense now.

 


 

 

Buy Palm oil free and Sustainable palm oil products

 

We've put together a list of companies which receive our best rating for palm oil either for being a palm oil free company or for only using certified sustainable or organic palm oil. Plus, we list the products from the best-rated companies that are palm oil free.

(Those brands rated best for palm oil are not necessarily rated best for overall corporate responsibility.)

 

Supermarkets | Biscuits | Boxes of Chocolates | Chocolate spread | Nut butters | Pet food

 

You can help us to grow our palm oil free list by:

emailing our News Editor

posting on the Forum

with details of any products that are palm oil free.

 


 

Supermarkets

 

Best rating for palm oil:

  • Waitrose 
  • Co-op
  • M&S
  • Sainsbury's

 

Avoid the following as they have received a worst rating:

  • ASDA, Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Iceland

 

See supermarkets guide for companies' overall rating.

 


 

Biscuits

 

Palm oil free biscuits:

Most likely those biscuits that are 'all butter' or more expensive 'cookies'.

  • Island Bakery (all organic): all biscuits; 
  • Waitrose Duchy Organic (all organic):  all biscuits
  • Co-op: All Butter Shortbread Fingers, Jaffa Cakes, Truly Irresistible Cookies
  • Bahlsen: Choco Leibniz Dark, Milk, Chocolate Orange; Butter Biscuits; 
  • Walkers: Shortbread, All Butter Sultana Biscuits, Chocolate Chip; 
  • Waitrose: All Butter Cookies, Milk Chocolate & Chocolate Chip Cookies, Scottish Shortbread, Belgian dark chocolate thins, Viennese swirls & fingers, Seriously shortbread, Seriously chocolate and ginger biscuits, Seriously triple chocolate, Continental milk chocolate butter biscuits, Continental dark chocolate butter biscuits
  • McVitie's: Rich Tea, Digestives Light; 
  • Sainsbury's: Shortbread (except Basics), Taste the Difference Cookies, SO Organic chocolate chip cookies, SO Organic dark chocolate orange, Flapjack Cookies, Jaffa Cakes, Almond Cantuccini
  • M&S: Shortbread Rounds & Fingers, All Butter Dunkers, All Butter Cookies, All Butter Biscuits, All Butter Battenberg Squares, Viennese Swirls, Viennese Chocolate Dipped Fingers, Roly Poly Swirls, Mini Oat, Belgian Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 

Best company rating for palm oil:

  • Palm oil free company - Island Bakery
  • Use organic palm oil - Against the Grain, Biona, Doves Farm, Duchy Originals
  • Use FairPalm - Traidcraft
  • Use certified sustainable palm oil - Nairn's, Bahlsen, Walkers, Hill Biscuits, M&S, Co-op, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Burton's Biscuits, Mrs Crimble's, Crawfords, McVities, Oreo, Cadbury's 

 

Worst company rating for palm oil:

  • ASDA, Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Iceland

 

See our biscuits buyers' guide to see how the companies compare on their overall corporate responsibility. 

 


 

 

Pet food

 

Best company rating for palm oil:

  • Palm oil free company - Ami, Benevo, Yarrah, Burns, Meowing Heads, Barking Heads, V-Dog
  • Use certified sustainable palm oil - Hill’s, Nestlé Purina, Mars, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, the Co-op

 

Worst company rating for palm oil:

  • Applaws, Encore, Butcher's, Harringtons, Wagg, Hi-Life, Eukanuba, Iams, Tesco, Morrisons, ASDA, Aldi, Lidl

 

See our dog food guide and cat food guide to see how the companies compare on their overall corporate responsibility.

 


 

 

Nut butters

 

Palm oil free nut butters:

  • Essential (organic): all
  • Biona (organic): all
  • Suma (organic): all
  • Meridian: all, some organic
  • Whole Earth: 100% Peanuts organic

 

Best company rating for palm oil:

  • Palm oil free company - Meridian
  • Use certified sustainable palm oil - Essential (organic), Biona (organic), Suma, Whole Earth, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Co-op, M&S

 


 

 

Chocolate spread

 

Palm oil free chocolate spreads:

Very hard to find.

  • Waitrose Seriously Chocolatey

 

Best company rating for palm oil:

  • Use certified sustainable palm oil - Essential (Fairtrade & organic), Plamil (organic & vegan), Biona (organic), Traidcraft (FairPalm), Vivani (organic), Nutella, Cadbury, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Co-op, M&S

 


 

 

Boxes of chocolates and gift chocolates

 

Palm oil free boxes of chocolates:

  • Divine (Fairtrade): all chocolate (After Dinner thins, Chocolate Bar Selection, Belgian Chocolate Collection) - go to online shop >
  • Booja Booja (organic & vegan): all chocolate (truffles)
  • Montezuma (organic): all gift chocolate - go to online shop >
  • Vivani (organic): all gift chocolate (mini bars gift tins)
  • Co-op: 24 Assorted Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Coins, Truly Irresistible Milk Chocolate Truffles gift cube, Truly Irresistible Mint Selection, Loved By Us Belgian Chocolate Pralines,  Loved By Us Irish Cream Liqueurs
  • M&S: Sequin Star/Tree with Truffles, Sparkling Wine Truffles, Dulce de Leche Truffles, Marc de Champagne Truffles, Mixologist's Box, Chocolate filled Christmas Crackers, Gastronomic Collection, Sparkling Caramels, Marzipan Collection, Italian Gianduiotto
  • Waitrose: Dark Chocolate Mint Creams, Dark Chocolate Mint Thins, Chocolate Mint Collection, Chocolate Ginger, Seriously Chocolatey milk chocolate truffles, Seriously Chocolatey Marc de Champagne dark truffles
  • Sainsbury's: After Dinner Mint Thins, Dark Chocolate Orange Thins, Taste the Difference Belgian Chocolate Cranberry and Pistachio Wreath, Belgian Chocolate Seashells, Taste the Difference Belgian Marzipan Assortment, Crunchy Mint Sticks, Crunchy Orange Sticks, Milk Chocolate Brazils, Milk Chocolate Honeycomb, Taste the Difference Swiss Hazelnut Praline Truffles, Taste the Difference Swiss Milk Choc Baubles, Taste the Difference Swiss Milk Choc Tree Decorations
  • Nestle: After Eight mints
  • Mondelez: Terry's Chocolate Orange Plain, Toblerone (all varieties)
  • Guylian: Seashells, Dark Chocolate Sea Horses, Pearles d'Ocean tin
  • Lindt: HELLO Just for You



Best company rating for palm oil:

  • Booja Booja (organic, palm oil free company),
  • Divine (Fairtrade, palm oil free company),
  • Cocoa Loco (organic),
  • Montezuma (organic),
  • Vivani (organic),
  • Ferrero Rocher, Raffaello,
  • Nestle brands (After Eight, Black Magic, Dairy Box, Quality Street),
  • Mondelez brands (Green & Black's Organic Collection, Milk Tray, Roses, Heroes, Terry's Chocolate Orange, Terry's All Gold, Toblerone),
  • Mars brands (Celebrations),
  • Guylian,
  • Lindt: Lindor, Lindt
  • Waitrose,
  • Co-op,
  • M&S,
  • Sainsbury's


Worst company rating for palm oil:

  • Thorntons,
  • Elizabeth Shaw,
  • ASDA,
  • Morrisons,
  • Tesco,
  • Aldi,
  • Lidl,
  • Iceland

 

Read our ethical shopping guide to Boxes of chocolates for companies' overall rating for corporate responsbility.

 


 

How we rate companies for Palm Oil policy

 

 

  • Worst rating: If a company uses palm oil in its products and none of the conditions listed below are met, it will lose half marks in our rating system in the categories of climate change, habitats & resources and human rights.
    If a company is a producer or major trader of palm oil, it will lose full marks in these categories. This is due to the massive environmental and social impacts of palm oil production.  For further information on these impacts, see reading list below.
  • Best rating for palm oil policy: A company will not lose marks in the above categories if one of the following applies:
    1) It does not use palm oil
    2) It only uses certified organic palm oil
    3) It only uses Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) or RSPO certified palm oil
    4) It purchases GreenPalm certificates for 100% of its palm oil
    5) It is a small company (turnover below £8 million) providing ethical alternatives that has made some commitment to sustainable palm oil use
    6) It is a company providing ethical alternatives that avoids palm oil where possible, whose palm oil suppliers are members of the RSPO.

 

We do not take into account future commitments to source sustainable palm oil as a result of the fact that the negative effects of palm oil production have been apparent for at least five years: The RSPO published its Principles & Criteria for sustainable palm oil production in 2005.

 

 

 

Related Articles

 

Palm oil special report - Ethical Consumer, Sept/Oct 2015

Don't buy palm oil, Ethical Consumer, May/June 2010. 

Sustainable Palm Oil, Ethical Consumer, May/June 2008

 

External Links


Under Fire  - Indonesia’s fire crisis is a test of corporate commitment to forest protection

Greenpeace, November 2015.  

Licence to Kill - How deforestation for palm oil is driving Sumatran tigers toward extinction, Greenpeace, October 2013

Rainforest Foundation UK

Palm Oil Guide 2014 - Rainforest Foundation UK/Ethical Consumer

Rainforest Action Network, USA

Palm Oil Scorecard 2015: Fries, Face Wash, Forests - US Union of Concerned Scientists

Palm Oil Action, Australia

 

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