THE USE of unsustainable palm oil is rife in UK chocolate products.
The charity Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and Ethical Consumer magazine surveyed more than 70 brands, asking about their practices and policies in relation to palm oil sourcing. They also carried out an investigation of information available on company websites.
They then ranked the companies to help consumers make more sustainable choices as part of a new campaign. Companies that do not use palm oil or their derivatives scored 20. Companies that use it but make no substantial policy statements and are not members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) scored 0.
Divine Chocolate managed the top score of 20, alongside Booja Booja, which produces gourmet organic chocolate. The Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose were all also in the top 10 and given a “green” traffic light.
At the other end of the scale was Guylain (-1), closely followed by Thorntons and Lindt, both with scores of 0 out of 20.
Nestlé scored much better than Mars or Kraft, with products scoring 10 or more and achieving “amber” on the traffic light system. All Mars and Kraft products (apart from the latter’s Green & Blacks brand) scored seven or less and were marked with a “red” traffic light.
The campaigners hope the system will offer consumers more information on what is in chocolate. Under European laws, companies are not required to label products containing palm oil until December next year.
They also hope to encourage more companies to use more sustainably sourced palm oil, such as that certified by the RSPO.
The WWF runs a similar scorecard every two years, also to encourage more take up of sustainable palm oil.