Going palm oil free
Is it possible to completely avoid palm oil?

RSPO – part 2

The motives for RSPO are admirable but Greenpeace are their sternest critics – many criticisms can be seen here.


I’m not aware of any other certifiable sources of sustainable palm oil, so for now the RSPO is all we have. But the fact remains though admirable in mission, the speed of action has been slow. To put in in perspective, the Independent’s excellent recent exposé of the use of palm oil (below) states that a maximum of 4% of palm oil can claim to be sustainable at the moment.


On the plus side, from a British point of view, signing up for the RSPO has been pretty much unilateral. Sainsbury’s were among the first supermarket to pledge support for sustainable palm oil, with Tesco the last of the major UK supermarkets to sign up. As of now, Sainsbury’s is producing the first and only guaranteed sustainable palm oil product, their basic fish fingers.

Sainsbury's Basics 10 Frozen Fish Fingers

Ultimately, we as campaigners need to ensure that this becomes the norm, and not just a gimmick for one range. If a good portent were needed, sales of the above fish fingers have doubled!

One Response to “RSPO – part 2”

  1. While back in May 2009 TESCO acknowled the problem but claimed that a definition of ‘sustainable’ palm oil is still missing and that hence they were discussing, but not doing anything http://www.notjustanessexgirl.com/2009/05/reply-from-tesco-may-09-re-palm-oil/ the WWF published an article saying that only 1% of sustainable palm oil available on the market has been bought http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2009/WWFPresitem12330.html

    Of course there is no perfect reliable framework available. It is a huge problem in wich a vast number of organisations with different interests are involved. This will have to be solved in an ‘Try and Error’ approach.

    Companies: Please use the palm oil that is claiming to be sustainable, label your products and be as vigilant as you can be on the controls. And if you get cheated about the source of palm oil – then be honest about it and resolve the problem.

    Conservationists: Please keep on working to get control mechanisms in place

    Customers: Please buy products wich are labelled ‘palm oil free’, or ‘palm oil from sustainable sources’ and be allert but patient when a company finds out that they were cheated into buying non-sustainable palm oil.

    We had the same problem with the Tuna and the eggs. We all know that there are more organic/free range eggs on the market than there can be produced. Do we stop buying them? No! If we as consumers don’t give the incentive to produce them in the first place then there is nothing for controll organisations to control.

    We all know that where there is a lucrative market there will be cheat, but that doesn’t mean to give up on a generally good thing: It means we have to fight the cheating.

    Consumers are already willing to pay the higher price for sustainable palm oil, we are already there. And we have shown in before: Tuna, eggs, reusable shopping bags, and Frigen in sprays and fridges. In Germany about 30 years back washing powders containing phosphate were basically wiped from the shelves within month as soon as the first phosphate free products appeared.

    So please, start trusting us! You do your bit and we are in!
    It’s a win-win-win

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