Sustainable palm oil, the answer to fake news

Certification, progress in the fight against climate change, but above all the commitments for a responsible sourcing of palm oil that allows to ensure quality and sustainability and assortment on the shelves in a scenario where the war in Ukraine has put stocks of vegetable oils at risk. At the Bologna fair, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil – Rspo and the Italian Union for Palm Oil met the main Italian stakeholders at Marca, the Italian retail and private label fair, to take stock of a sector that in recent weeks it has garnered a lot of attention.

“The war in Ukraine will push many users of vegetable oils – he explains Monica Tommasi, president of Amici della Terra Italia – to return to using palm oil. In some cases they are the same ones who boycotted him. We we believe that today it is important to use certified sustainable palm oil because it is the only one that guarantees lower impacts on the environment, less land use and greenhouse gas emissions and above all no deforestation“.

It is estimated that in 2050 the world need for vegetable oils will almost double. Oil palm cultivation produces 4 to 10 times more oil than other plantations for the same acreage, with a 2 to 6 times lower carbon footprint. A more intensive production of other vegetable oils would therefore have a negative impact both for the consumption of soil and deforestation and for the impact on the environment. As for the food industry, today the palm oil that arrives in Italy is for over 95% coming from a sustainable supply chain.

“Fortunately in the last two years – he comments Mauro Fontana, president of the Italian Union for Sustainable Palm Oil – consumer aversion towards this product is decreasing and consequently the attractiveness of the claim ‘without palm oil’. Partly because consumers recognized the abuse of a concept that had no solid objective basis, partly because consumers are starting to care more about what actually is in the products and the ‘without’ no longer attractsand, finally, because health is already clearly guaranteed by regulations and labeling for food products “.

An RSPO certified palm oil – explains Francesca MorganteSr manager Europe (Market Transformation) of the Roundtable on sustainable palm oil – rinspects a range of environmental and social requirements that result in a 35% lower impact on global warming and 20% lower impact on biodiversity loss respect the values ​​recorded by conventional productions. To have the RSPO certification it is very important that there is no deforestation when the plantations are developed, there can be no new plantation developments on the peat bog areas which are delicate ecosystems that must be preserved, plus there are a whole series of social requirements such as a fair and decent wage for workers, which put together guarantee that palm oil placed on the market has not caused any damage to the population and the ecosystem “.

Having a guaranteed supply chain has become increasingly important for consumers and consequently companies have had to go in that direction. In Bologna Marta CasellaCsr manager of Carrefour Italy, confirmed: “We have always maintained our commitment to reach 100% Rspo sustainable palm oil in Carrefour brand products, following the market developments in recent years.“.

Distribution and production companies must all commit to sourcing certified sustainable palm oil from suppliers who are able to offer a raw material of certain origin, such as that supplied by Unigrà, one of the founding members of the Union and member of RSPO. since 2007. “Our customers ask us to trace the origin and history of the palm oil purchased. The list of all the mills and the sustainability indicators connected to them are also made public on our company website – he assures Marcello ValentiHead of the Environment and Sustainability of Unigrà – e thanks to satellite monitoring, it is possible to control what is happening in the area, to ensure the absence of deforestationAnd”.

“Certified sustainable palm oil is the best and only alternative to palm oil – he confirms Vincenzo Tapella of Isf Italy, for 40 years professionally engaged in the supply chain – from a technological, nutritional, environmental, socio-economic and food safety point of view. We must work together to develop the supply chain in an ever more responsible way. “