Does Knorr use sustainable palm oil?

Products with palm oil in Colombia

Industrial bakery products, chocolates and butter, and in general precooked foods have palm oil among their usual ingredients. Now, a group of companies in the food sector have created a lobby whose objective is to wash the face of this much-maligned ingredient, not only because of its more than questionable nutritional values, but also because of the punishment to which it subjects countries such as Indonesia from an environmental point of view.

Palm oil is obtained from a plant known as African palm. Beyond food use, this type of oil is used in other cosmetic products such as creams or toothpaste, and in the production of biodiesel. Its massive use is justified mainly because of its low cost compared to other fats or oils of other origin that could replace it. On the other hand, its saturated fatty acid profile is unhealthy.

Ferrero, manufacturer of the famous chocolates and Nutella; Natra, which produces ingredients for industrial foods; Lipsa, which produces human and animal food products; and Gracomsa and Vandemoortele, both producers of margarines and oils, are also part of the entity.

Palm oil products in Chile

The food, hygiene and personal care manufacturer Unilever announced today, at the Climate Change Summit in London, its commitment to obtain sustainable certification for all its palm oil by 2015.

The process will begin in the second half of 2008, with certified palm oil being used as it reaches the market. It is expected that by 2012 this process will be completed for all palm oil used in Europe.

Unilever is present in more than 150 countries and has brands in the market such as Flora, Knorr, Frigo, Magnum, Ligeresa, Calvé, Hellmann’s and Maizena, among others, as well as Dove, Axe, Rexona, Skip and Mimosín, for cleaning and personal care.

Palm oil consequences

Activists for the Planet and Ecologistes en Acció of Barcelona have denounced, through an awareness action in Parc de la Ciutadella, the social and ecological consequences of the cultivation and use of palm oil in different countries of the South, but especially in Indonesia, home of the orangutan and other emblematic species.

Palm oil plantations have expanded throughout the tropics of the South, South America, Africa, etc., but the greatest impact is in Asia, in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia or Papua New Guinea, due to the great destruction of the forests and rainforest, where huge amounts of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere are provoked. But the worst thing is that it displaces the indigenous or native populations, who depend exclusively on the forests to survive, as these are their natural livelihood for subsistence.

But let’s leave aside the orangutans and let’s go to the human being, to the indigenous or autochthonous people who depend on the forest to live and feed themselves; well, these mega multinationals favor great conflicts and human rights violations by forcing them to move from their habitats and transform the forest into giant oil palm plantations.

Palm oil products 2021

The report, The Great Palm Oil Scandal: Labor Abuses Behind the Big Brands, investigates palm oil plantations in Indonesia, led by the world’s largest palm oil producer, Singapore-based Wilmar. In addition, the company has been involved in a number of other cases, including those of Colgate-Palmolive, Elevation, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever.

Corporate giants like Colgate, Nestlé and Unilever assure consumers that their products use “sustainable palm oil,” but our findings reveal that palm oil is anything but.

“Despite promises from customers that there will be no exploitation in their palm oil supply chains, big brands will continue to profit from appalling abuses, which will shock any consumer who thinks they are making ethical choices at the supermarket when they buy products claiming to use sustainable palm oil,” said Meghna Abraham, senior researcher at Amnesty International.

“Corporate giants like Colgate, Nestle and Unilever assure consumers that their products use ‘sustainable palm oil,’ but our findings reveal that palm oil is anything but. There is nothing sustainable about palm oil that is produced with child labor and forced labor. The abuses uncovered within Wilmar’s palm oil operations are not isolated incidents but are systemic and a predictable result of the way Wilmar does business.