The Kraft Heinz Company is Inconsistent with CSPO, Through the Palm Oil Free Label on it’s Products
The anti-palm oil campaign has been rolling continuously since the 1980s, but has more intensified since palm oil sucesfull to shifted the dominance of soybean oil in the world vegetable oil market. Health, environmental and social issues have become a topics that used by anti-palm oil parties to carry out negative campaigns.
Anti-palm oil NGOs have also intensified pressure on the end user palm oil industry. For example the pressure on the biscuit (food) industry through the publication of an article entitled “Dying for Biscuit” in the BBC media in February 2008. Multinational companies such as Unilever have to face the “Dove is Detroying Rainforest for Palm Oil” campaign in April 2008. Pressure on palm oil products was also felt by other multinational companies such as Nestle in March 2010. The instant noodle industry also faced similar pressures with the publication of an article entitled “Your Instant Ramen Noodles are a Massive Threat to Environment” in July 2015.
The pressure on palm oil-based products has also more intensified, and even these published articles have succeeded in influencing consumers, especially in developed countries such as the European Union and the United States of America to force end user industries to impose mandatory labeling of Palm Oil Free on their products. Not only food products such as butter, margarine, biscuits, chocolate, cereals, ice cream, noodles, but other non-food products such as toilleteries, cosmetics and baby products are also required to label their products with the Palm Oil Free sign.
Labeling food and non-food products with the label palm oil free is clearly no longer an usual anti-palm oil movement. This labeling is already in the realm of boycotting palm oil and even “forbidding” the use of palm oil. With the inclusion of the label of Palm Oil Free means directly or indirectly prohibiting the use of palm oil (not even a drop) as a raw material. Although the mandatory of labeling only applies in developed countries, multinational companies that produce and market these consumer products throughout the world. This means that the palm oil boycott movement will gradually spread all around the world. This of course will threaten the palm oil industry.
Along with the establishment of a certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) system by the Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and similar certification systems such as ISPO in Indonesia and MSPO in Malaysia as well as the efforts of palm oil stakeholders to convince the global market that sustainability indicators are met in palm oil production under the umbrella of the CSPO scheme, the implication is that the Palm Oil Free movement is relatively less intensive as it was before the CSPO scheme.
But not long ago, the palm oil industry was again hit by a negative campaign by the Kraft Heinz Company, a large US food company. The company has discriminated against palm oil by labeling palm oil free which is embedded in its product, namely Hazelnut Butter which is marketed in Canada.
Seeing this, the Secretariat of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) considers that the Hazelnut Butter product marketing strategy carried out by Kraft Heinz Company by embedding the Palm Oil Free label is considered discriminatory against palm oil and is also assessed spreading misinformation that harms consumers. In addition, the marketing strategy carried out by Kraft Heinz Company is also considered to be injuring and damaging the efforts of palm oil stakeholders around the world in producing and using best quality, healthy and sustainable palm oil. A further implication is that what the company does is at the risk of harming and reducing the welfare of the million people involved in the supply chain as direct labor from oil palm farmers to factory workers, as well as indirect workers who are connected to the palm oil industry.
Following up on this, the CPOPC secretariat officially sent an objection letter on August 4, 2020 in response to the claims of the palm oil free label and discriminatory messages on the Hazelnut Butter product. The CPOPC Secretariat also urged Kraft Heinz Company to remove the Palm Oil Free label on all of its products because this is very misleading to consumers.
As a member of the RSPO, the Kraft Heinz Company should be at the forefront of promoting the production and use of sustainable palm oil. The Kraft Heinz Company should also be fully aware that palm oil has no negative health effects when consumed as part of a balanced diet. The unclear attitude of Kraft Heinz Company is also seen where the company should invite farmers and producers to implement sustainable practices, but at the same time they are boycotting palm oil in its products. The steps taken by Kraft Heinz Company as a member of the RSPO are considered inconsistent and appear to have betrayed the principles of sustainability under the RSPO umbrella.
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