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 1 800 tonnes of palm oil each year for our own-label food products. In 2020, 99.9% of this already came from RSPO-certified cultivation, making us a world leader in comparison with other retailers. Our pioneering commitment has also been confirmed by the WWF’s latest Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2021. We came top in the global ranking out of a total of 227 companies.

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. We have documented our sourcing principles in our «Guideline Palm oil».

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.

Start of our sustainability project

We have also launched 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.

In a first step, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture has evaluated eight different palm oil producers in Africa and South America in terms of sustainability with the help of a hotspot analysis. The analysis included Bio Suisse-certified, RSPO-certified and conventional producers. In the sustainability evaluation, Bio Suisse-certified palm oil producers scored considerably better than RSPO-certified of conventional producers. This result confirms our aim of continuing to switch to Bio bud palm oil for our food own-label brands.

In a next step, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture will set up a sourcing project with other partners. The goal is to build up a supply chain for Bio Suisse-certified palm oil from small-scale farmers in West Africa. The idea is to support the farmers not only in implementing Bio Suisse certification but also in optimizing their farming methods and implementing sustainability measures.