The world’s most consumed oil
Palm oil remains a slippery terrain. Highly criticised by nutritionists and ecologists, the world’s most consumed oil has nonetheless taken off astoundingly in the last twenty years. It is still attractive for economic reasons as it is less costly
than other oils. Malaysia and Indonesia make up 85 % of its worldwide production. France consumes 130,000 tonnes every year, a quarter of which is said to be “sustainable”.Today, one year after the aborted French parliamentary proposal to tax this oil, a group of industrial players has arisen to defend the interests of this product by adding environmental qualities to it. “The French Alliance”, as the group calls itself,is made up of the companies Nestlé, Unilever, Ferrero, Vandermoortele, CSM, and Cérélia as well as three trade organisations (the Association Nationale des IndustriesAgroalimentaires, Alliance 7 and the Fédération Nationale des
Industries de Corps Gras).
Widening the Alliance
The Alliance commits to using, by 2015, palm oil meeting the sustainability criteria as defined by the Roundtable on Sustainable Oil, a global organisation drawing together stakeholders including producers, planters, refiners and NGOs.
This label demands the meeting of specific requirements: the oil must be segregated – traced and separated from oils stemming from other streams – and its user must purchase UTZ Certified and Green Palm certificates indicating its support for sustainable producers.
In concrete terms, to be sustainable producers, it is primordial not to plant palm trees in primary forest areas and to respect the territory of local inhabitants. According to Nestlé, which uses 0.7% of the world’s palm oil, “there was a need to work with other industrial players and to make ourselves heard by the wider public. This association aims to widen itself to industries other than the food industry, including cosmetics for example.” Watch this space.