Palm oil campaigners win over Woolies
Woolworths have announced that they will move towards certified sustainable palm oil in all of their product brands such as Homebrand and Select by 2015, and that they will begin labelling palm oil as an ingredient for products that contain it over the next two years.
Palm oil production is responsible for massive deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia and Borneo, which is having a dramatic effect on orang-utans and other rainforest flora and fauna. But at the moment dozens of products that contain palm oil are labelled with the generic term ‘vegetable oil’ so consumers are not able to make an accurate point of sale decision about whether to boycott a product or not.
Local palm oil campaigner Anasuya Claff said she was elated that Woolworths has listened to what consumers were telling them.
She said the three main campaign goals of the Palm Oil Action Group have now been met: that KFC stop using palm oil for cooking, that Woolworths voluntarily label their own products and switch to sustainable palm oil where it can’t be replaced.
“Now all we need is a moratorium on rainforest logging,” Anasuya said.
The group has also made a submission to the Senate inquiry on truth in labelling and is hoping that there will be a federal requirement for all products with palm oil to be labelled as such in the future.
Anasuya is also selling The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping, which is a pocket sized booklet produced by The Ethical Consumer Group. It also has information on food miles, overfishing, child labour, genetic engineering, multinational ownership, packaging as well as palm oil. They are available for $6, with $1 from every book going to the Palm Oil Action Group. To get a copy you can contact Anasuya on 0431 779 644 or 6624 4835.