Certifications and communication, how to talk about palm oil

A webinar organized by the Italian Union for Sustainable Palm Oil

How to tell the world about sustainable palm oil. This is the theme at the center of the webinar organized by the Italian Union for Sustainable Palm Oil, as part of the Sustainable Development Festival promoted by Asvis, entitled ‘Palm oil and SDGs: the role of certification and communication‘.

“The issues of certification and communication are two crucial issues because they are the two pillars that support the possible spread of sustainable palm oil: it is necessary to highlight how certified sustainability is a concrete guarantee of what has been declared – explains Mauro Fontana, president of the Italian Union for Sustainable Palm Oil by introducing the debate – Only by reassuring citizens and institutions of the real capacity of sustainable palm oil not to be an actor in deforestation will we be able to ensure that the mechanism for increasing this quantity of sustainable palm oil that today in the world it represents 19% of the total palm oil can increase to totality “.

Francesca Morgante, Sr Manager, Europe (Market Transformation) Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil-Rspo, photographs thesustainable palm oil. “45% of sustainable palm oil is consumed in Europe – he explains – so in recent years Europe has played a role of front runner in advancing a sustainable supply chain by asking its suppliers to adapt to certification standards such as those of Rspo. Both in Europe and in the rest of the world, applications for license use of the Rspo trademark have doubled in the space of a year, companies require Rspo to use the trademark and they can do so with both corporate communication and communications Italy has always positioned itself very well in the use of the brand and today is the fifth country in the world and the third in Europe for the number of companies associated with RSPO, over 230 Italian production companies have joined our organization”.

Guendalina Graffigna, Phd full professor, director of EngageMinds Hub – Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, illustrates the results of a research conducted on a sample of 1200 Italians and which photographs consumer behavior. “We have a figure that surprised us: 54% of the sample replied that they had heard of sustainable palm oil; I think it is a bit disproportionate, in our opinion it is more a having overheard and sometimes confused labels and themes than a real knowledge, “he notes. But what are the attitudes towards sustainable palm oil? “A positive attitude prevails because over 30% of the sample believes that products with sustainable palm oil must be more respectful of the environment, we are amazed by 23% of consumers who believe that products with sustainable palm oil are a scam” ; this attitude “becomes even more pronounced among the respondents who report a marked conspiracy mentality”.

A “psychological profiling of consumers who are more oriented to the purchase of a bakery product with sustainable palm oil was also developed: the variables that become predictors of the purchase intention are the orientation towards innovation and the competence to discriminate against fake news. The trait of conspiracy is predictive on the contrary and income is an orientator to the reverse. It is above all the psychological variables that predict the intention to purchase rather than the classic socio-demographic variables. Therefore the potential consumers are the conscious innovators , those who have a lower income but from a psychological point of view are predisposed to food experimentation and innovation, are able to recognize food fake news and have a less conspiratorial attitude “.

According to Tiziana Toto, Head of Consumer Policies at Cittadinanzattiva, on the part of the consumer “certainly compared to the past there is greater awareness and sensitivity towards some issues and therefore greater discernment when it comes to making a consumption choice that is more responsible and sustainable. This is not the case for everyone and it is true that the main levers of these changes are the younger classes, they are the vectors of innovation and change. “How can a sustainable product be recognized?” in-depth training, starting from schools in terms of proper nutrition and environmental policy and the involvement of civil society. If the consumer is convinced and makes conscious choices, he can steer the market towards greater sustainability “, she concludes.