· 1 min read · Features

Hot topic: Businesses using palm oil, part two


A report published by the WWF listed the British businesses failing to meet commitments to only sell products containing palm oil from ‘sustainable’ sources

Having pledged to phase out harmful palm deforestation by 2020, many household names are still missing sustainability targets. Forty-one of the 173 companies the WWF contacted failed to respond to its recent survey, and 30 of those that did ranked low on the Foundation’s palm oil buyers scorecard. How can HR help to push this agenda forward as part of CSR?

Craig Sams, creator and chairman at Gusto Organic, says:

"The orangutan habitat would be restored very quickly if we stopped burning palm oil.

"This will increase demand for a fat that saves land because of its productivity and saves millions of lives because of its health benefits.

"It is time to stop the insanity of distorting world food markets by creating an artificial EU and US subsidised market for the burning of food. There are plenty of fossil fuels left and they are cleaner and less environmentally destructive than growing and burning vegetable oils (for biofuels).

"When a food truck makes a delivery the biggest palm oil problem is in its fuel tanks, not in the food products on board. With or without sustainable palm oil, it is burning palm oil to fuel the engine.

"Nobody questions whether that is sustainable or not, yet if we didn’t burn the stuff the area devoted to palm oil would shrink by half and the question of sustainability would not arise."

Tessa Clarke, co-founder and CEO of OLIO, says:

"Sustainability isn’t a trend; it’s a paradigm shift. And one that will make the digital revolution look like a walk in the park.

"The great news is that employees – and prospective employees – have quickly realised this. So any company that is genuinely leading the transition to a sustainable circular economy will find themselves in the enviable position of having the pick of the crop of talent.

That’s because the very best talent in the world is voting with their feet and seeking out work that is truly net positive to the planet."

Read the first part of this hot topic

This piece appears in the March 2020 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk