S Group received full nine points in the international Palm Oil Buyer's Scorecard ranking WWF carried out in 2016, and was thus considered to be a trailblazer in its sector. S Group has been systematically increasing the use of sustainably produced palm oil.
"WWF's Palm Oil Buyer's Scorecard is an important external assessment of how well companies take responsibility issues related to palm oil into consideration in their operations. It is great to see that our work has produced results," Lea Rankinen, SVP, Sustainability, at SOK says.
Palm oil is used, for example, in margarines, noodles, instant soups and frozen doughs as well as in restaurants for deep-drying. The majority of palm oil is produced in Southeast Asia. In some cases, conflicts may arise concerning the ownership of plantations, clearing land for plantations may cause erosion as well as negatively affecting the living conditions of the local population and endangered species.
The palm oil certification system helps companies and stakeholders to jointly promote the use of sustainable palm oil. In 2016, 99 per cent of palm oil used in S Group's Rainbow, Kotimaista and X-tra products and in oil used for deep-frying in restaurants was certified. Of this, approximately 70 per cent was physically certified, in other words traceable, or segregated.
"If a product contains palm oil, we want the oil to be responsibly produced. Therefore, our goal is to only use physically certified palm oil in S Group's private label products and oil used for deep-frying in restaurants by 2021," Rankinen says.
SOK has been a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2011. In accordance with RSPO's criteria, palm oil plantations must protect biodiversity and take measures to improve the ethical and ecological aspects of production.