Campaign cuts Norway’s palm oil consumption 64%

 

Mongabay.com

A campaign run by environmental activists has helped lead to a 64 percent reduction in palm oil use by eight major food companies in Norway, reports Rainforest Foundation Norway, which led the effort.

Rainforest Foundation Norway and Green Living launched the palm oil campaign last fall highlight links between palm oil consumption and deforestation in Southeast Asia. It aimed to reduce demand for palm oil in the Scandinavian country, where palm oil consumption was roughly 3 kilogram per year, mostly through processed food products.

The campaign asked major food companies to disclose their palm oil use and whether palm oil was certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an eco-certification initiative. Following the survey, the environmental groups published a ‘palm oil guide’ where consumers could look up the palm oil content in the products they buy. The effort went beyond traditional labeling which allowed palm oil to be listed generically as ‘vegetable oil’ or ‘vegetable fat’.

Chart: Palm oil consumption in Norway.

According to Rainforest Foundation Norway, the campaign had an immediate impact — Norwegian food producers started to scale back on, or even phase out, palm oil. Stabburet, which was once one of the country’s largest palm oil buyers, banished palm oil from its products completely, while Mills, the largest buyer, cut use by 95 percent. The result so far is food companies in Norway have reduced palm oil buying by 9,600 metric tons, or 64 percent of last year’s 15,000 tons worth of palm oil. Per capita palm oil consumption in Norway is set to fall to just over 1 kilo per year.

The campaign only targeted food manufacturers, not fast food chains and restaurants, cosmetics producers, or animal feed makers.

Lars Løvold, Director of Rainforest Foundation Norway, said the campaign could be a model for other countries.

“Norwegian food producers have demonstrated that it is possible to produce and sell food without palm oil, avoiding complicity in rainforest destruction,” said Løvold. “The experience from Norway should inspire consumers globally to demand food products which do not contribute to rainforest destruction.”

Palm oil is the most productive of commercial oil seeds but its expansion in recent decades has taken a heavy toll on rainforests and peatlands in Indonesia and Malaysia, which account for nearly 90 percent of global production. Green campaigners have thus targeted major palm oil buyers in an effort to shift the industry toward less damaging practices. In response, the palm oil industry, working with some environmental groups, have set up the RSPO which sets social and environmental criteria for palm oil production. The hope is that buyers are willing to pay a slight premium for RSPO-certified palm oil. Still some activists have criticized the RSPO as not being strong enough and are campaigning for stricter safeguards.

The palm oil industry asserts its crop offers more oil per unit of area than other oilseeds, reducing the need to clear forests relative to other crops. But that argument has failed to win over environmentalists who note that forest clearing for oil palm plantations has not slowed and is now expanding to other parts of the world, including West Africa, Central and South America, Papua New Guinea, and the South Pacific.

Norway is one of the world’s largest supporters of tropical forest conservation. It has committed three billion Norwegian krone ($500 million) per year to slowing deforestation, including billion dollar pledges to Indonesia and Brazil for forest protection programs. The country’s pension fund nevertheless continues to invest in companies associated with forest conversion, a sore point for activists
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About endoftheicons

The Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia is in grave danger. Local politicians want to allow logging, mining and palm oil plantations in this vulnerable area. Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers are already hanging on by a thread. They will not survive the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.

6 responses to “Campaign cuts Norway’s palm oil consumption 64%”

  1. Judy says :

    Yet again,proof that we can live without Palm Oil,there are alternatives,it is up to us,the consumer to put enormous pressure on manufacturers & suppliers to find other products.We know they are there,they just need to be sourced and made as widely available as the toxic palm oil has been.This must be good news surely?After reading last week that Indonesia is itself using sustainable palm oil and Carrefour becoming a major influence then this must bring hope that the popularity of palm oil is waning?I really do hope so.If the countries that are using the alternatives can pass on to other countries such as my own the UK,what they have done then this can be a huge step in the right direction.With this promising news we can only hope that the fate of the beautiful Orangutans may now be given a life line.I wait with baited breath that this is just the beginning and we will see every country following Norways lead.

    • endoftheicons says :

      It is a very good and positive news. The choice to not use palm oil is in our hands, the consumer. The campaign in Norway asked for companies to label palm oil in their products, and publishing ‘palm oil guide’ for costumer to look up the palm oil content in product they buy.

      As stated in the article: “Norwegian food producers started to scale back on, or even phase out, palm oil. Stabburet, which was once one of the country’s largest palm oil buyers, banished palm oil from its products completely, while Mills, the largest buyer, cut use by 95 percent.”

      Yes its possible – vote for rainforest and its endangered animals with your voice and your dollar 🙂

  2. Anna says :

    This is amazing news. A little glimmer of light shines in Norway. How could we introduce a similar campaign in the UK?

  3. Chitra says :

    Fantastic news – go Norway. Now for the rest of the world to follow suit…

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