Need for more awareness of products with sustainable palm oil in Italy, concludes report

Palm oil in Malaysia is subject to mandatory certification. — Reuters pic
Palm oil in Malaysia is subject to mandatory certification. — Reuters pic

MANCHESTER, April 8 — The Italian Union for Sustainable Palm Oil has identified five challenges in promoting a culture of sustainability for the commodity in Italy, which includes poor recognition of products containing certified sustainable palm oil.

The union said the industry is also facing the demonisation of palm oil by the media and politicians as well as the widespread use of “palm oil free” claims; lack of discussion based on scientific evidence; and public debates that are solely focused on health and nutritional aspects.

From the consumer aspect, they are less involved in the issue of deforestation and are poorly informed about the presence of sustainability certification, according to the union, which is also known as Unione Italiana Olio Di Palma Sostenibile, in its 2019 annual report.

Therefore, the union indicated a need for greater involvement of Italian industry in the process of certifying the sustainability of the supply chain, especially greater adhesion from the retail sector through their own brand products and significant influence exercised over its partners.

“It will also be essential to align national and local policies in the form of public tenders for canteens, universities and hospitals with the new European Union criteria for Green Public Procurement,” it noted.

The Green Public Procurement has already set out requirements for greater certified sustainability for all vegetable oils and fats, it added.

In 2018, the report revealed, 1.25 million tonnes of palm oil were used in Italy, whereby 78 per cent was for industrial technical uses, 14 per cent in the food sector and remaining eight per cent in the cosmetics and home care sector.

It is estimated that 92 per cent of the palm oil used in Italy comes from sustainable sources, with about 78 per cent certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification.

The rest is Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Segregated (seven per cent), No Peat and No Exploitation or NDPE (five per cent) and RSPO Mass Balance (three per cent) certified.

Palm oil produced in Malaysia and Indonesia also subject to mandatory certification according to their respective national schemes, namely the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO).

For the food sector, 64 per cent of palm oil used is RSPO certified, of which 45 per cent is RSPO Segregated and 19 per cent RSPO Mass Balance certified.

The remaining 36 per cent comes from supply chains which meet the NDPE criteria.

Established in October 2015, the union comprises companies and associations in the food industry that aim at using or supplying exclusively 100 per cent sustainable palm oil by end of this year.

Its members are responsible for 80 per cent of the palm oil used in the Italian food sector.— Bernama

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