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100% Sustainable Palm Oil

100% Sustainable Palm Oil

It is likely that at some point today, whether you are aware of it or not, you will have eaten some food or used a household product that contains palm oil.

From our favourite foods like ice cream, bread and margarine to essential toiletries like soap and shampoo, palm oil is one of the most useful vegetable oils on the planet. In fact, a recent study found it in half of all goods on our supermarket shelves. Despite its popularity, however, people often still know very little about palm oil and why so many companies use it in their products.

Palm oil comes from the reddish fruit of the oil palm, a close relative of the palm tree, and has been part of the everyday diet for over 5,000 years – it was even used by the ancient Egyptians. It is grown in tropical regions of the world and is incredibly efficient. A well-managed grove of oil palms the size of a football pitch can produce more than 20,000 kilograms of fruit every year, two or three times more than soya beans or rapeseed oil.

At Ferrero, palm oil helps us achieve the perfect consistency in our recipes. There are two reasons for this. The first is that palm oil is solid at room temperature and so gives our products a smooth texture. It’s what makes Nutella so creamily spreadable. (We could use other vegetable oils to do this, but that would require hydrogenation and the creation of unhealthy “trans fats”. Palm oil avoids this.) The second reason is that it has no odour or taste. This enables our products to bring out the flavours of the other ingredients, such as milk, cocoa, and hazelnuts.

While these are good reasons to be positive about palm oil, we are well aware that for some people, palm oil conjures up a negative impression. Concerns about its sustainability and the impact of its cultivation on local communities in Asia and Africa have rightly been raised by environmental groups. Companies need to do their utmost to ensure the palm oil they use is traceable and sustainable, and that’s what Ferrero is doing.

Using only the very best quality ingredients has always been the Ferrero way, and our approach to palm oil is no exception.
Since 2005, we have been an active member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a not for profit organisation that monitors and promotes sustainable palm oil practices. We achieved our target of using 100% sustainable and RSPO certified as segregated palm oil by the end of 2014. We even beat our own target and reached this goal one year earlier than originally planned!

In fact, we feel so strongly about our responsibility in this area that our commitment does not end with certification. In November 2013 we launched our own Palm Oil Charter which goes beyond our RSPO requirements and further strengthens our efforts in addressing deforestation and promoting environmental conservation.

Our efforts have been independently recognised by NGOs.

For example, WWF recently scored Ferrero 9 out of 9 in the September 2016 edition of their Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard and singled us out:

“Ferrero’s impressive efforts show that it’s possible for even large users of palm oil to get their sourcing on a more sustainable footing. Other companies now need to follow their example... it’s a credit to them that they have put in the effort to shift their sourcing to segregated supplies.” (1)

As part of Greenpeace International’s ‘Tiger Challenge’ campaign, Ferrero was highlighted as being ‘forest-friendly’. Notably, they stated that “Ferrero has one of the most progressive No Deforestation Policies in the sector”. (2)

In line with our employees’ and consumers’ expectations, we are committed to sourcing responsibly produced palm oil, to the benefit of the environment and communities of palm oil producing countries. We feel privileged that our products have become family favourites across the UK over the last 50 years, and with this comes a responsibility to make products that not only taste great but that also protect the planet.

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For more information about Ferrero’s sustainable approach to palm oil and other ingredients, read our CSR report here.

(1) Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, September 2016, p.6
(2) Greenpeace New Zealand