Our plan: more sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil
Palm cultivation with the smallest possible impact on the environment and the biggest positive impact on the producers and countries that grow palm oil, that’s our goal. That’s why we strive for 100 % certified sustainable palm oil in our private label products. We opted to use the internationally recognised RSPO-standard, for both palm oil and palm kernel oil. Palm kernel oil is mostly used in cosmetics and detergents. If you are also concerned about the sustainability of palm oil, then you can put your mind at rest by choosing our products with certified palm oil.
Without palm oil or certified palm oil?
Palm oil itself is actually a very efficient oil that requires much less land area than other vegetable oils. 35 % of the world's vegetable oil is derived from palm oil, which uses only 10 % of the world's land area. Avoiding palm oil altogether could therefore result in more environmental damage, due to increased pressure on land. However, it is true that palm oil production is often linked to deforestation. Because we are concerned about the environmental impact of palm cultivation, we aim to use only certified oil. We therefore use the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard for more sustainable and responsible production which is promoted by a wide range of stakeholders, ranging from key industry players, producers to NGOs. We ask all our suppliers to use only certified palm oil. The RSPO label offers a number of guarantees; including that the oil originates from palm trees in plantations that are managed more sustainably and that do not contribute to further deforestation.
What are the most important RSPO criteria?
- No deforestation of jungles or protected zones
- Consultation with local residents
- Proper agricultural practices, especially involving pesticides
- Proper working conditions
Ambition 2020: 100 % RSPO in all our products, 100 % separate RSPO oil in our food products
"Not using palm oil is not a solution from a sustainability point of view, because palm oil produces a lot of oil on very little land. The trick is to increase the market share for sustainable palm oil. There is still a lot of work to be done, as only 20 % of global production is currently RSPO-certified. Colruyt Group currently already uses 100 % RSPO certified palm oil, in a combination of certificates, mass balance and separated streams. Our aim is to have 100 % separated RSPO palm oil in our food products by the end of 2020”, says Karen Janssens, expert sustainable sourcing.
RSPO palm oil: separate stream/strong>
Different ways to increase sustainability: separated streams, mass balance and purchase of certificates
There are several ways to grow the market for sustainable palm oil:
- Segregated or separated streams: the sustainable, certified palm oil from a single recognised source is handled and processed separately throughout the entire chain.
- Mass balance: sustainable, certified palm oil is mixed with conventional (normal) palm oil throughout the chain. The end product therefore contains a mix of certified and conventional palm oil. The end user can only claim the use of certified palm oil once. This system is cheaper than full segregation and also encourages the production of sustainable palm oil, which increases as demand at the end of the chain increases.
- Book & claim (purchase of credits): the chain does not use sustainable palm oil, but the partners in the chain buy ‘credits’ (in proportion to the amount of palm oil or palm kernel oil that has been used) to encourage the production of sustainable palm oil.
We want to reduce the purchase of certificates and increase separated streams (or mass balance). We have developed a step-by-step plan to achieve this objective. Some producers need time to implement a separated production process. Rather than dropping them as suppliers, we have decided to work with them to make the chain more sustainable, step-by-step, using transition measures. Our preference is to use separated streams, in which the RSPO oil is processed separately during the entire production process, our second preference is to use mass balance.
A small percentage of our end products still contain unsustainable palm oil or palm kernel oil, because those suppliers do not yet use sustainable palm oil and derivatives. We compensate for that by purchasing RSPO certificates, which then guarantee that an equivalent volume of more sustainable RSPO oil is produced somewhere in the world. For palm kernel oil, this is still a large amount (77 %) for palm oil only 3 %.
In 2019, Colruyt group sold approximately 5,000 tonnes of palm oil and 700 tonnes of palm kernel oil, processed into hundreds of own-brand products. 68 % is fully separated RSPO palm oil. That is an increase of almost 20 % compared to 2018. We sold 29 % of palm oil via mass balance. We compensated for the remaining 3 % of palm oil by purchasing certificates. We therefore certified 100 % of the palm oil that we used. Of the palm kernel oil, 8 % was RSPO certified as ‘segregated’ oil and 15 % as ‘mass-balance’. We purchased certificates for 77 % of non-sustainable palm kernel oil. We intend to reduce this percentage in the future.
Working with suppliers.
Together we are strong. We are supporting our producers and suppliers as they implement the action plan by:
- resolving technical problems linked to the segregation.
- integrating all traceability procedures all the way back to the 'mills'.
- giving them time to switch their organisation to these RSPO regulations.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.