Palm Oil Bar Codes Launched to Help Consumers Spot Unsustainable Supply Chain

Photo: Wikipedia/Romain Behar

Social enterprise Giki has created a ‘palm oil detector’ to help shoppers identify products made with sustainable palm oil.

Shoppers concerned about fuelling deforestation on their supermarket trips can now take advantage of a new tool to help them spot products made with sustainable palm oil.

Social enterprise Giki revealed last week it has built a new ‘palm oil detector’ into its mobile app, which shoppers can use to find out if a product has been made with palm oil from a certified source.

The detector has been developed in collaboration with WWF, and gives products a ‘sustainable palm oil’ stamp if they have been made with palm oil traced from sources certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the company has a commitment, by 2020, to achieve sustainable palm oil across their supply chain. Shoppers simply scan the bar code to retrieve the supply chain information.

According to Giki, currently only around 10 per cent of soap products, one per cent of shampoos, and seven per cent of chocolate are made with sustainable palm oil.

The launch comes in the wake of the controversy over Iceland’s palm oil Christmas advert, which was barred from broadcast earlier this month for breaching rules governing political advertising.

The advert repurposed a Greenpeace campaign film highlighting the threat palm oil production posed to the world’s rainforests, prompting agency Clearcast to block the film from being broadcast.

Since then there has been a dramatic uptick in the level of consumer concern over palm oil, but there remains high levels of confusion – and controversy – over the most sustainable path forward for the industry.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to buy products with sustainable palm oil,” said Jo Hand, co-founder at Giki. “We have analysed the palm oil procurement practices of major brands found in supermarkets and linked that to their products such that it is now easy to see which products contain sustainable palm and which don’t.”

Source: Business Green