The recent Orwell ‘Cheese-in’ was the perfect opportunity for colleagues to discuss concerns surrounding the use and sustainability criteria of palm oil and for Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients (VWFI) to outline their Palm Oil Sustainability Policy. VWFI uses palm oil derivatives as a base for most of their products. Through their specific fatty acid profile, they offer unique benefits for various productive livestock and other species.
We believe palm oil has an important role to play in feeding the world in the future. How it can be sourced in a sustainable and responsible way is a vital question that the session explored. Laura Steeden, Product Manager for Feed Fats and Andy Richardson, Head of Corporate Affairs led the session and were joined by a special guest speaker: Catherine Barton Field, Conservation Manager from Chester Zoo.
Chester Zoo is a conservation charity and a recognised impartial leader in communicating the benefits of responsibly sourced palm oil, having no commercial interest in palm oil. Their core mission is to prevent the extinction of orangutans and other endangered species in oil palm dominated landscapes and they conduct fieldwork and research to protect them.
Laura commented on the why Chester Zoo were approached and how they relate to VWFI's position on palm:
"I wanted to demonstrate that we are not alone in our active support of sustainable palm oil by reaching out to partner with a charity that has no ulterior motive."
"At VWFI we believe that vegetable-based feed fats play a vital role as key ingredients in sustainable and productive livestock nutrition. We also believe that palm-based fats give the biggest benefits and are the best choice for a sustainable global food system. VWFI aim to be the agents for change, advocating certified and responsibly sourced palm oil and palm oil derivatives. It is our ambition to lead the discussion on feed fats and the use of sustainable palm oil."
Laura goes on to highlight palm’s future role:
"We can meet the challenge of food security with the minimum impact on the natural world by choosing palm, because it is the most efficient and versatile source of vegetable oil. Whilst plantation development has contributed significantly to economic development in countries where palm oil is produced, and while a great deal of improvement has been achieved, in some cases the production of palm oil can still be linked to sustainability challenges like deforestation and exploitation of people and local communities. If palm oil is to play a leading role in the future of farming, then it must be produced in a sustainable and responsible way. We know it is here to stay and we are committed to working with other stakeholders like our friends at Chester Zoo to create one voice and be part of the solution."
Laura noted that the response to the session was extremely positive. It really opened up the internal discussion and has given colleagues the confidence to ask questions about a topic that previously may have been deemed somewhat taboo and uncomfortable. It was informative as many people did not realise the extent they use products that contain potentially un-sustainable palm oil in their personal lives.
You can access VWFI’s Palm Oil Policy on the product website for Megalac®.