Oxfam Australia Trading’s use of palm oil – website update

In 2013 we identified that the palm oil being used in the manufacture of a number of products stocked by Oxfam Australia Trading was not fully sustainable.

We have since been systematically reviewing our entire palm oil supply chain to ensure that only sustainably sourced palm oil or alternative materials are used in the manufacture of all our products.

Through this review, Oxfam Australia Trading could not verify to our satisfaction that the palm oil used in its Oxfam fair chocolate spreads, Chocolate Bon Bons and seashells, soaps and candles met appropriate ethical and sustainable standards.

We have committed to not ordering any more of these products containing palm oil until such time that it can be confirmed the palm oil is sustainably sourced, or replaced with an alternate material.

The products identified as containing palm oil are:

  • Oxfam fair hazelnut and dark chocolate spreads
  • Chocolate Bon Bons
  • Chocolate Seashells
  • Soaps and candles from one particular supplier only

Oxfam fair hazelnut and dark chocolate spreads

We have recently approved the use of IMO Fair for Life certified palm oil from SEDASPOP in our Oxfam fair chocolate spreads and our next order of chocolate spreads will contain this sustainably sourced palm oil. Oxfam Belgium recently visited this supplier and we have reviewed their report and are satisfied that this supplier is meeting ethical and sustainable standards.

More information on the IMO Fair for Life certification can be found here

Chocolate Bon Bons

After an investigation into our Chocolate Bon Bons we have identified that the palm oil used in them is sourced using the RSPO “Mass Balance” method. In the RSPO Mass Balance system, palm oil from certified mills is mixed with conventional palm oil during transport and storage. While this method does actively engage all links in the supply chain to be part of sustainable palm oil trade, the end user is unable to verify if the palm oil they receive was sourced sustainably.

As Oxfam Australia Trading feels that this method of sourcing does not meet our high standards to guarantee the use of sustainable palm oil, we will not be ordering any more of this product.

Chocolate Seashells

While the amount of “Vegetable oil” used in this product is quite small, we are investigating what percentage of the broader mix of vegetable oils is actually palm oil and whether or not it has been sustainably sourced.

Until it can be confirmed that the palm oil used is sourced sustainably, we will not be ordering anymore of the Chocolate Seashells. If we are not satisfied with the response from our supplier we will be looking for an alternative product line.

Soaps and candles

One of our Soap and Candle suppliers in India has provided us with details of their palm oil supplier and after reviewing this documentation, we are not satisfied that this palm oil is sourced using RSPO Segregated or Identity preserved standards.

While we have spoken to our supplier about the importance of using sustainably sourced palm oil, they have advised that they are finding it challenging to source RSPO certified palm oil in the small quantities that they require given the large minimum quantities required from palm oil suppliers.

We will not be placing any more orders with this supplier of these products, while they are still using unsustainable palm oil, and are currently working with them to replace their palm oil with alternative materials.

For more information, please contact Sara Pelvin on sarap@oxfam.org.au