Sustainable palm oil

Worldwide demand for palm oil is growing. Around 80 percent of the palm oil required originates from Indonesia and Malaysia. However, producing this raw material is not without problems. It displaces rainforests and with them rare species such as the orang-utan.

We have been a member of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) since 2004. This association promotes palm oil that is produced under socially equitable and environmentally friendly conditions. We need around 2,200 tonnes of palm oil each year for our own-label food products. In 2017, over 95% of this already came from RSPO-certified cultivation, making us a world leader in comparison with other retailers.

We are now taking a big step forwards and will also use organic bud palm oil in conventionally produced food for our own labels in future. This oil comes from consistently sustainable production and can be traced right back to the plantation. There are three Bio-Suisse-certified palm oil producers in the world: in Brazil, Colombia and Madagascar.

Organic bud palm oil has the following advantages:

  • Compliance with the strict guidelines of Bio Suisse
  • No cultivation on areas that were cleared after 1994
  • No burning down of areas
  • No synthetic pesticides or fertilizers
  • Compliance with social standards (decent working conditions, ban on child labour, employees’ co-determination, social security for employees)
  • Preference given to small-scale farmers’ cooperatives wherever possible

In selected own-label products, we are also replacing palm oil completely with other oils and fats where possible and feasible. If other tropical oils or fats such as coconut oil are used, they must come from Fairtrade and/or Bio-Suisse-certified production.

Sustainable palm oil plantation

  • The demand for palm oil is increasing worldwide.
  • Around 80 percent of the total palm oil requirement comes from Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Rainforest is often displaced when palm oil is cultivated.
  • We are committed to palm oil being produced under socially and environmentally responsible conditions.

Research project for more sustainability

We are also launching a multi-year research and development project under the guidance of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) on sustainability of organic bud palm oil with the project partners Bio Suisse and Max Havelaar. The aim of this project is to further optimize its cultivation, and in particular to better integrate small-scale farmers’ cooperatives in the value chain.

In the Non-Food area, we will continue to use RSPO-certified palm oil, as there are currently no good alternatives.

A raw material with multiple uses

There are three reasons why palm oil and fat are highly relevant to us:

  1. They have a good consistency, are heat-stable and are thus very suitable for numerous foods and non-food products.
  2. They do not quickly become rancid. This increases the shelf life of foods and reduces food waste.
  3. Oil palms are very efficient and require five times less space than rapeseed and eight times less than soya to produce the same yield of oil.