Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons, Target Join Sustainable Palm Oil Network


Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons Cos. and Target Inc. have joined with consumer goods manufacturers and civic groups to form the North American Sustainable Palm Oil Network (NASPON), with the mission of educating, building momentum, and helping North American companies to make and deliver on commitments to source sustainable palm oil.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) revealed the formation of the network last month, following its 15th annual roundtable meeting, in Bali, Indonesia.

“The formation of NASPON brings together like-minded organizations working collectively to find long-term, industrywide solutions to secure certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) in their products,” said Darrel Webber CEO of RSPO, which has offices in Geneva, Switzerland and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “NASPON will bring a much needed dialogue of sustainable palm oil to North America, further amplifying our collective goal to respect human and labor rights, local communities and biodiversity throughout the palm oil supply chain.”

According to the roundtable, the new regional coalition is “necessary to bring this market into the global sustainable palm oil discussion with dedicated resources, a focus on challenges unique to North America and to build a critical mass of demand for sustainable palm oil.”

Ahold Delhaize believe that this group of companies working together pre-competitively on the development of the North American CSPO market will be able to achieve NAPSON's goal of reaching 100 percent CSPO in North America,” noted Hugo Byrnes, VP of product integrity for the Zaandam, Netherlands-based retail conglomerate, which operates various banners in the United States. “Reducing environmental and social risk in palm oil supply chains is a goal that unites us all.”

Byrnes added the company’s own-brand products already use CSPO. Prior to Ahold and Delhaize’s 2016 merger, Delhaize Group had committed to responsibly sourced palm oil, while Dutch grocer Albert Heijn, then a division of Ahold, promised in 2012 that its store brands would contain only the sustainably sourced palm oil, among other ingredients.

“The goals of [NASPON] align closely with our corporate commitments to responsibly source palm oil, and we look forward to collaborating on this issue to increase adoption of certified sustainable palm oil throughout the supply chain,” said Darcie Renn, senior sustainability manager for Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons.

“In 2015, Target committed to using fully traceable and sustainable palm oil in all of our own-brand food, personal care and household cleaning products by 2018, and we’re proud to report that we’re on track to reach that milestone next year,” asserted Jennifer Silberman, VP, corporate responsibility for the Minneapolis-based retailer. “As a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil since 2016, we’re eager to continue championing the importance of sustainable palm oil alongside other North American companies as a charter member of NASPON.”

NASPON’s other founding members are Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Co., Bunge, Conservation International, Control Union, Dunkin’ Brands, Fuji Oils, Grupo Bimbo, International Flavors & Fragrances, IOI Loders Croklaan, Kellogg Co., Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo, and Rainforest Alliance.

Other retailers that have pledged to source sustainable palm oil include the Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.

Located in Southeast Asia, and increasingly in Africa and Latin America, palm oil plantations produce 65 percent of the world’s traded vegetable oil. Palm oil is a key ingredient in a variety of foods, cosmetics, soaps and detergents, and is a significant biofuel stock. Overall demand is anticipated to double by 2020, increasing pressure on tropical forests and biodiversity.