BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, February 17, 2014 – Delhaize Group today announces an updated policy on Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing that outlines our commitment to source only traceable, No-Deforestation palm oil. Building upon the work we began in 2012 to increase the transparency in the sourcing of the palm oil used in private brand products, we have updated our policy to reflect our new goals. We are working to ensure that by 2020, all the palm oil we source for our private brand products is 100% traceable and deforestation-free, and we plan to reach 80% by 2018.
Acting as a responsible company is one of the key elements of Delhaize Group’s strategy. We recognize the impact of deforestation on climate change, habitats, and forest communities. Our updated policy includes the commitment to protecting peatlands, High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests and High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, including wildlife habitats. It will also respect the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous and local communities in the development of new plantations.
Our updated commitment comes after a year and a half of building knowledge of our palm oil sourcing, with the help of the global non-profit organization, The Forest Trust (TFT). It aligns with our 2020 Supergood strategy and our commitment as a board member of the Consumer Goods Forum to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.
It is important that our customers have the confidence that the palm oil used in our products has been responsibly sourced from known and verified sources that do not contribute to deforestation. We will be working to achieve our aims in an open and transparent manner, producing annual reports on our progress.
“We are pleased with our progress to date in increasing the visibility and transparency of palm oil in our private brand products and are happy that, with added knowledge about our supply chain, we can accelerate our commitment to responsibly sourcing 80% of our palm oil by 2018,” said Megan Hellstedt, Delhaize Group Vice President of Sustainability. “Reaching this commitment, however, will take collaborative effort across the palm oil supply chain. We look forward to continued engagement with our suppliers, other retailers, NGOs, and palm oil producers in the transformation to responsibly-sourced palm oil.”
TFT Director Bastien Sachet believes Delhaize Group’s plans take great courage: “There are no ready-made solutions out there for the retail industry when it comes to successfully verifying traceable No-Deforestation palm oil supplies, but the commitment shown by Delhaize Group will be a big driver for innovation and solutions.”
As a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Delhaize Group is also maintaining its current commitment to have 100% of the palm oil we use in our private brand products adhere to the RSPO guidelines by the end of 2015. The company is on track to meet this commitment through a mix of GreenPalm Certificates, Mass Balance, and Segregated certified palm oil. After 2015, we will move to Mass Balance and Segregated certified palm oil for our key product categories.