5 firms form alliance to promote sustainably produced palm oil to fight haze

The founding members of the alliance are Unilever, Ayam Brand, Danone, Ikea and Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
The founding members of the alliance are Unilever, Ayam Brand, Danone, Ikea and Wildlife Reserves Singapore. PHOTO: WWF-SINGAPORE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Five firms in Singapore have banded together to tackle deforestation and haze pollution by pledging to use certified sustainable palm oil in their products, conservation organisation WWF Singapore said on Monday (June 27).

The firms have formed the Singapore Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil, whose primary goal is to get more manufacturers and retailers to use sustainably produced palm oil, and give consumers here environmentally-friendly options for the many products which contain palm oil. WWF Singapore is leading and supporting the alliance.

The founding members of the alliance are consumer goods giant Unilever, local manufacturer Ayam Brand, food and beverage firm Danone, home furnishing retailer Ikea and Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The formation of the alliance was prompted by the public outcry over the prolonged haze pollution last year (2015), said WWF Singapore. The organisation had held a campaign then which raised awareness of the link between the slash and burn practices used in the production of palm oil and haze pollution, and which enlisted public support for a switch to sustainably-produced palm oil.

"The alliance sends a clear signal to consumers about which companies are committed to sustainability," said WWF Singapore's chief executive Elaine Tan. "This is a timely opportunity for non-governmental organisations and businesses to work together towards transforming the palm oil industry."

Unilever, which has more than 400 brands, including Dove and Lipton, uses 3 per cent of all the palm oil produced in the world. The firm has moved forward its target of achieving 100 per cent fully physically certified oil from 2020 to 2019.

Its chief procurement officer Dhaval Buch said the firm is committed to working with others to eliminate deforestation.

"To do this we need to ensure our own supply chains are fully traceable and certified sustainable and we encourage other industry players to set and meet high standards," he said.

"The alliance launched today is another great example of a shared initiative to advocate the production, trade and usage of sustainable palm oil and we are proud to be part of it."