Fair News

US market embraces sustainability

11/01/2015

With topics such as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), climate change and population growth becoming more urgent worldwide, the issue of sustainability has become an important one for U.S. companies and consumers alike. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) have continued to push for corporate shifts towards sustainability by rolling out national ad campaigns targeted towards the younger generations of consumers. As a result, shoppers are becoming more and more aware that their food choices have environmental and social impacts, and are reading ingredient panels and seeking out familiar labels (such as USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance, and Non-GMO) to help them purchase responsibly.
According to a 2014 Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, “42% percent of global online consumers in the U.S. say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.” Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability at Nielsen, says “consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand’s social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions” and that “this behavior is on the rise.” Nielsen reports that “Millennials (age 21-34) appear more responsive to sustainability actions,” confirming that the younger generations are indeed more engaged with these global concerns. Meanwhile, Ernst & Young Global Limited recently conducted a survey of corporate executives regarding sustainability issues. EY reports that “76 percent of survey respondents anticipate natural resource shortages will affect their core business objectives over the next 3-5 years.” In addition, “65 percent of respondents stated their CFO has become involved in sustainability.” In other words, sustainability is now a top-level corporate concern in North America. In January 2015, DAABON USA sponsored the Sustainable Foods Summit in San Francisco for the third consecutive year.

The Summit focused on sustainability and eco-labels in the food industry, and included attendees from various consumer packaged goods companies as well as suppliers and manufacturers. The attendees, brought together by a common interest in developing sustainability within the food industry, heard from various experts related to the major challenges and possible solutions currently being faced. DAABON’s Director of Sustainability, Felipe Guerrero, shared a presentation during the Summit addressing concerns over palm oil. The palm oil industry has a particularly bad reputation in terms of sustainability, related primarily to deforestation in Southeast Asia and the resulting habitat loss for various species, including the Orangutan, as well as concerns for the indigenous communities who may be displaced and/or mistreated as a result. Yet at the same time, palm oil offers some very important benefits. Palm yields at least three times more oil per hectare than soybean, sunflower and rapeseed, meaning that palm can produce the same amount of oil to feed a growing global population using only one third of the land. The oil can be harvested year-round, from trees that produce for 30 years, which means less tilling and disruption of the soil.

Palm oil is incredibly popular in the food industry because it is very stable and cost effective, and it can be used very successfully in its nonhydrogenated form (trans-fat free) in various applications (such as baking) with great flavour and performance results. In addition, palm oil has healthy fats and antioxidants which can be a beneficial part of a balanced diet.
The answer, then, may lie in sustainable palm oil—palm oil that is harvested in accord with sustainability standards that have been developed by organizations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the Rainforest Alliance.
DAABON, certified to the highest palm oil standard of sustainability (Identity Preserved), has been an industry leader in sustainability for decades. As a founding member of the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), DAABON, together with NGO’s such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund and major consumer brands, is actively working to encourage the palm oil industry to adopt more sustainable production models.
DAABON sees great value in offering healthy, natural products that are not only good for people, but also good for the Earth. Sources:
http://www.ey.com/US/en/Services/ Specialty-Services/Climate-Change-andSustainability-Services/Six-growing-trendsin-corporate-sustainability_overview
http://www.nielsen.com/content/corporate/ us/en/press-room/2014/global-consumersare-willing-to-put-their-money-where-theirheart-is.html

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