No Palm Oil is No Solution

In Europe, several National Initiatives for Sustainable Palm Oil are advocating sustainable palm oil production and consumption and are working hard to safeguard against food manufacturers and retailers moving away from palm oil.

The Italian Union for Sustainable Palm Oil organized three seminars on the issue of palm-free claims, two in Italy and one in the European Parliament in Brussels.

From Italy comes positive news about the decrease in number of companies using palm-free claims. The Italian Self-Regulatory Advertising Authority blocked a misleading commercial on palm oil after a complaint against Nocciolata Rigoni, a hazelnut spread. Barilla agreed to correct its social media campaign denigrating palm oil on Instagram and LinkedIn, and the Cremonini group agreed to end their anti-palm-oil claim in their (over 145) Roadhouse restaurants. In these, and several other cases, the Italian Union took the lead.

The Spanish Foundation for Sustainable Palm Oil decided to object to Trapa, a chocolate company that deployed a marketing and communication strategy on the removal of palm oil in their products. The Spanish Advertising Association agreed on all objections against the campaign after which the Spanish Foundation convinced the company to stop the campaign.

Recently also EPOA acted on three cases:

Misleading marketing campaign The Flower Farm 

The anti-palm oil campaign by Dutch margarine brand The Flower Farm (TFF) was considered misleading, inaccurate and indiscriminate by The Dutch Advertising Code Committee (RCC). The RCC made this judgment in response to a complaint filed by EPOA and backed by NGOs like Solidaridad, Orangutan Land Trust and IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative). TFF has to adjust packaging, television commercial, video, social media messages and website, which they partly did already. Still they appealed to the RCC decision. The ruling on appeal is expected no later than 17 December 2019.

Letter to Ryanair

In a letter to the CEO of Ryanair of 4 November 2019, EPOA rejects the palm oil policy of the airline. EPOA stresses that boycotting palm oil is not the way to saving rainforests and orangutans. The inclusion of a palm-free logo is not only confusing for consumers, but for products that never contain palm oil, such as drinking water, it is also in violation of article 7 of the Food Information to Consumers (FIC) – legislation of the European Commission which is on fair information practices, EPOA states. The Alliance calls upon Ryanair to implement an informed and comprehensive policy not diminishing the use of palm oil but using sustainable palm oil instead.

Statement to EkoPlaza 

EPOA publicly called on Dutch retailer EkoPlaza to consider the risks of banning palm oil, and to buy sustainable palm oil instead. By moving away from palm oil, and ignoring the possibility to create a global move towards sustainable palm oil, EkoPlaza positions itself outside the solution that is already being supported by the majority of palm oil industry, civil society and governments, EPOA stated.