Palm oil is used as a raw material in many food products and non-food products like cosmetics and cleaning products. But the rising demand for palm oil has led to large tracts of rainforest being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations.
Finding a solution to help everyone
Palm oil is a very efficient oil, so reformulating to alternative oil that can need up to 9 times more land to produce, could lead to higher deforestation rates. Responsibly managing our forests is one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to curb global warming, as well as conserving wildlife and protecting the rights of indigenous communities.
Working with the rest of the industry
We are a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a multi-stakeholder group that set the global standard for sustainable palm oil.
The ALDI SOUTH Group (ASG) is an active member of the Retailer Palm Oil Group (RPOG), and the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition. The RPOG convenes UK retail on the issue of palm oil and represents UK retail on the RSPO Board of Governors. ASG has been actively involved in the Smallholder Working Group in the past and is now a member of the Smallholder Standing Committee (SHSC).
From 1 January 2016, 100% of the palm oil used in our own-label food products in the UK & Ireland has been sourced from RSPO physically certified, sustainable sources. This includes all palm oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil derivatives and fractions.
From 1 January 2019, we also converted all of the palm oil in our own-label non-food products to RSPO sources. For our non-food products there are some derivatives and fractions that we are unable to source as physically certified (less than 1%), these will be covered by RSPO Credits until they are available as physically certified or by 2025 at the latest.
From the start of 2022, we are aiming to source all new products containing straight palm oil (oil derived from the palm fruit) to be certified under the segregation or identity-preserved systems. This certification method ensures that all of the palm oil in the product can be easily traced back to sustainable sources.
Our policy applies to all ALDI own-label food and non-food products within the UK and Ireland.
Working with local projects
As well as sourcing 100% RSPO certified palm oil in our food and non-food products, we are also making sure we invest directly in smallholders. Between 2017-2021, the ALDI SOUTH Group, together with ALDI Nord, supported a smallholder project in Côte d'Ivoire in order to pave the way for sustainable cultivation of palm in the area. In partnership with Solidaridad, we developed a project that focused on improving smallholder farmers’ knowledge on best environmental practices and on agriculture that respects High Conservation Values (HCV) and natural forests.
Solidaridad offered training through Farmer Field Schools (FFS) for 2,611 palm oil smallholder farmers and helped restore approximately 250 hectares of forest land in the project area. The team cultivated 17,532 tree seedlings in nurseries that were then distributed to individual farmers, planted in schools and borders of sacred forests, and used to help restore natural reserve areas. Despite the many challenges facing the project, including COVID-19 restrictions, and political tensions, 90% of the community participants reported positive outcomes and increased knowledge.