Moving forward with sustainable products

18 March 2011 – AAK UK has announced that its full range of bakery fats and many other standard product lines will contain RSPO certified sustainable palm oil.

AAK, approved by the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) as a supplier of certified sustainable palm oil, has also committed to supplying sustainable stearin within its bakery blends from 2012/13.

In the meantime, AAK says customers can support sustainable production in relation to their use of blends and palm kernel oil with the GreenPalm certificate trading programme, or Mass Balance, which are both options approved by the RSPO.

This is the latest sustainability milestone for AAK, which in 2003 co-founded the RSPO and in 2008 imported Europe’s first shipment of certified sustainable palm oil into its refinery in Hull, UK. In April 2010, AAK US was the first company in the USA to import RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil.

However, AAK is warning businesses that simply buying RSPO-certified palm oil is not enough if they want to make claims about ethical sourcing.

AAK UK managing director Martin Craven (pictured) says, “It is important to make clear that any user of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil must be a member of the RSPO if they want to tell their customers and stakeholders about their use of sustainable palm oil.

“There are strict rules about making such claims, in order to maintain the integrity of the system, and yet this is not always made clear from the start by suppliers. All parties of the supply chain must be RSPO members and their equipment and operations approved by the RSPO.

“Our concern is that some businesses might, with the best intentions, buy certified sustainable palm oil and think that means they can state this on pack, in CSR statements, in press releases and as part of their corporate message.

“Since early last year we have been offering sustainability clinics, to customers and non-customers alike, to explain the complexities of making sustainability claims and to guide them through the process. As a founding member of the RSPO, the last thing we want is for businesses to be deterred from using certified sustainable palm oil, so we’re doing all we can to help them buy it and make the most of it.

“In many cases, especially for manufacturers that use palm blends or derivatives or palm kernel oil, there is not a suitable sustainable option, so they can choose instead to cover their use of palm products with GreenPalm certificates. This option is endorsed by the RSPO as a genuine means of incentivising the use of RSPO-certified production methods and rewarding producers that are working without harm to people, animals or the environment.”

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