Selfridges becomes first major UK retailer to remove palm oil from all own-brand products

terça-feira, maio 14, 2019

Department store makes 300 items free of the substance - nine months ahead of schedule

Selfridges has become the first major retailer to remove palm oil from all of its own-brand food products, completing the phase-out nine months ahead of schedule.

The upmarket department store said 300 products in its Selfridges Selection range are now free of palm oil which has been replaced with alternatives derived from rapeseed, soybean and sunflowers.

Palm oil is  found in around half of all supermarket products, from cakes and biscuits to toiletries. 

It is cheap and versatile but has been linked to widespread deforestation, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Destruction of habitats to make way for palm oil plantations threatens hundreds of animal species including the orangutan.

Selfridges’ managing director Simon Forster said: “We’re committed to buying better to inspire change, and the removal of palm oil from our Selfridges Selection range is the latest demonstration of this approach,” 

“We believe that until certified palm oil guarantees zero deforestation, our customers should be given the option to buy palm oil-free products. Our expectation is that all brands we work with are aware of and actively engaging with the issues surrounding palm oil and deforestation.”

Consumers have become increasingly aware of the devastation linked to palm oil, prompting retailers to seek to reduce their usage of the commodity, but so far progress has been limited.

Last year, Iceland attracted attention by becoming the first UK supermarket to commit to removing palm oil from all of its own-brand lines.

Iceland said it would achieve its goal by the end of 2018 but in January it emerged that 28 own-brand products containing palm oil were still on sale and the company had removed its label form 17 other lines.

Around 600 branded products containing palm oil were still available at Iceland, the BBC found.

Nestle, the world’s biggest food manufacturer, attracted firm criticism from environmental groups over claims made last week that 77 per cent of the commodities used in its products were deforestation-free.

Richard George, Head of Forests at Greenpeace UK said the claim “wholly contradicts” very recent discussions that Greenpeace had with Nestle.

“We know Nestle continues to trade with some of the world’s guiltiest suppliers when it comes to deforestation for palm oil, soya and cocoa,” Mr George said.

“Without further explanation, we can only conclude that this is a blatant and embarrassing attempt by the company to deceive its customers and absolve all responsibility for its contribution to the destruction of the world’s forests.”

Page: Independent

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