28 October 2009 | Jake Kanter
Environment charity WWF says some of Europe's top companies are failing to purchase certified palm oil, even though it is now available.
The charity's first "palm oil buyers' scorecard" revealed 19 of 59 major retailers and manufacturers scored between 0 and 3 points out of a possible 29, meaning they have taken "little or no action" to stop buying the commodity from unsustainable sources.
Two companies scored between three and five points. Some 28 firms notched up 5-20 points, showing they are "starting to take action" on the issue and make responsible procurement decisions. And 10 scored more than 20 points, so are considered to be making "real progress" on commitments to source sustainable palm oil.
Among some of the best performing firms were Sainsbury's, L'Oréal and Unilever. Those that scored badly included Associated British Foods and Aldi.
Publication of the research follows the commitment by Nestlé and Marks & Spencer this week to purchase palm oil from only certified sources by 2015 (Web news, 27 October
). Nestlé scored more than eight on the WWF measurement and M&S was ranked second, with 25.5 points.
"Because certified palm oil is now available, it is time to hold major palm oil users to account for their policies and actions," said Rod Taylor, director of the Forests Programme at WWF International.
"Although many companies have a long way to go, the performances of the top companies in the scorecard signal to the rest of the industry that it is possible to turn commitment into action."
The findings were unveiled ahead of the seventh Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to be held in Malaysia next month. The RSPO is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes the production and use of sustainable palm oil and its members include buyers, suppliers, producers and retailers.
The WWF scorecard will be published every two years and will be expanded to include palm oil buyers around the world.