More companies are adopting sustainable palm oil, but many still have yet to make a commitment, according to WWF

More companies are adopting sustainable palm oil, but many still have yet to make a commitment, according to WWF

Environmental charity WWF has published a report which identifies companies who it claims haven't made a commitment to sustainable palm oil.

The Palm Oil Buyers' Scorecard 2011 measured the performance of 132 major retailers and consumer goods manufacturers against four key areas; whether they are an active member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), if they have made a public commitment to sustainable palm oil, disclosure of how much they use, and how much of it is RSPO-certified.

The WWF says the Scorecard reveals the last two years has seen greater widespread use of sustainable palm oil, which is produced with minimal impact on the environment (palm trees grow in tropical regions, and tracts of tropical forests are cleared to make room for plantations).

A total of 29 of the companies received full marks, such as Britain's Cadbury  and Waitrose, Royal Ahold in both Switzerland and Holland, Nestle, France's Carrefour, Woolworths in Australia and Sweden's Cloetta.

But at the bottom of the Scorecard were Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud, Lactalis in France and Northern Foods in the UK.

A spokesperson from Lactalis said: "Unfortunately we are not able to provide comment this time." Nobody from Northern Foods was available for comment.

A spokesperson from Aldi UK, part of Aldi Sud, said: "Aldi is a responsible retailer and is committed to the sustainable sourcing of raw materials used in its own-label products.

"We are a member of the RSPO and we are working closely with our suppliers to ensure that all palm oil and palm kernel oil used in our own label products is sourced from certified sustainable sources by 2015 (for food products) and by 2018 (for non-food products)."

When asked about the low rating on the WWF scorecard despite these commitments, the spokesperson said that he cannot comment on the charity's criteria.

Despite greater use of sustainable palm oil, the WWF says change is coming too slowly and urged companies to "shift gears" immediately.

"Time is running out for palm oil buyers to take action", a WWF statement said.

"Companies need to seize this opportunity to support sustainable palm oil, and help avoid the irrecoverable loss of tropical forests, and the unique species that inhabit them. This is a chance to show the world that they are part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem."