Jorrit de Bruin, Sonneveld’s product group manager, told BakeryandSnacks.com that, in order to reach this target, the company is assessing the options for buying only segregated palm oil. He said that approximately 60 per cent of Sonneveld’s products, which include bread improvers and release agents, currently contain palm oil or fractions of palm oil.
Palm oil is used in a wide range of food and personal care products, but there are serious concerns about the effect of the palm oil industry on the environment, as intensive plantations have cleared habitats for endangered species like tigers and orangutans in South Asia, while also adding to carbon emissions.
The RSPO was set up in 2004 to promote sustainable palm oil use and changing to palm oil that is sustainable or supports green palm certification has become a major trend for food manufacturers and retailers.
Since October 2010, Sonneveld has been compensating for its annual use of palm oil with GreenPalm certificates. The certificate stands for the investment required to produce a certain quantity of sustainable palm oil.
Bruin said the company is trying to convince its suppliers to use only sustainable palm oil: "We have to get the whole chain moving: producers, suppliers, retailers and our customers. For this we have given ourselves time until 2013,” he added.
He said that Sonneveld did not want to switch to using soy bean oil or sunflower oil instead as the average yield of palm oil is much higher the alternatives.
The ingredients supplier said that, in addition to its membership of RSPO, it has also beeninvolved with the Dutch NGO, the Monkey Business Foundation, since June 2010.
This association, it adds, has also accelerated its progress in this area through enabling it to get a better understanding of the issues concerning palm oil, and by giving Sonneveld the opportunity to discuss sourcing with customers, retailers and suppliers of palm oil directly.
The Monkey Business Foundation’s goal is to prevent the orangutan from becoming extinct by protecting its habitat and it has challenged ten companies from the food industry to look into the preservation of palm oil.