Iceland Foods has become the first supermarket to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods. It recently revealed that it has already removed palm oil from half of its own-brand range, with the remaining products to be reformulated by the end of 2018.
Palm oil is currently the single biggest driver of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia, threatening species such as the orangutan with extinction. Its popularity in both food and cosmetic products is due to its versatility and low cost, which has driven up demand at an alarming rate. However, because of the complex supply chain associated with mass palm oil production, it’s almost impossible to confirm whether or not it has come from an officially approved sustainable source.
What is preventing more supermarkets, or big name brands, from committing to remove palm oil from their products?
What secondary impacts could such moves see? Could palm oil still be traded in the same quantities, but in markets with little transparency and no interest in influencing supply chains to enhance its sustainability?