Aviko claims to have achieved nearly one-third of its goal to use only 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2015 in the second year of its CSR drive.
In February 2011, Aviko became the first chilled and frozen potato supplier to join the international Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil scheme (RSPO).
RSPO ensures that Aviko is buying its oil only from plantations that have been built without cutting down new rainforest, that respect local residents and employees, and that preserve the habitat of endangered species such as orangutans.
By the end of 2011, Aviko had purchased sustainability vouchers for 13% of the total volume of palm oil it had bought, and this figure has more than doubled in the current year to 30%. It is a major step forward for the companys CSR programme as palm oil represents 80% of all the oils it uses.
Mohammed Essa, General Manager UK and Ireland, Aviko, commented that the company was also looking to raise its certification status: The ambition is to move to 100% by 2015 and to upgrade from the Book and Claim system we currently use to the Identity Preserved (top tier) by 2015 as well.
This represents another positive step on our CSR journey, which, of course, is ongoing. The fact that we are looking to upgrade our certification status is testament, however, to our commitment to becoming the most sustainable potato producer in the world.
Identity Preserved means the certified sustainable palm oil can be traced back to a specific mill and is kept segregated from all other palm oil sources through the supply chain.
Sustainable palm oil production shows tangible benefits throughout the supply chain. According to a report published by WWF, palm oil producers that switched to sustainable production have "reaped significant return on their investment". But a Palm Oil Scorecard also showed that companies are still not buying enough sustainable palm oil. The report showed 25 UK based business that are buying more certified palm oil than ever before, but urgent action is still needed. Unilever has also set a new target to purchase all its palm oil from traceable sources by 2020 as part of a report on the company's progress globally and nationally towards meeting its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets.