The latest pledge and extended sustainability of its bakery fats range follows the launch by AAK in May last year of an industry-first low-saturated fat pumpable shortening containing fully-traceable, certified sustainable palm oil.
Straight palm can be used in biscuit dough and some other food products, but 60 to 70 per cent of palm oil is sold as derivatives including olein and stearin; fractions of olein and stearin; palm kernel oil (PKO) or PKO derivatives, which are then blended into bakery fats and other products.
The bakery fats supplier said that palm stearin fraction is not (yet) available in a fully-traceable, certified form.
And AAK stressed that bakery manufacturers, while awaiting a sustainable stearin supply, can help “support sustainable production in relation to their use of blends and palm kernel oil with the GreenPalm certificate trading programme, or Mass Balance, which are both options approved by the RSPO.”
Increasing demand for palm oil has led to concerns about its sustainability. Where palm oil plantation areas have expanded in producing countries this has been at the expense of tropical rainforests. Labour relations and use of pesticides at plantations are also causing concern.
The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a multi-stakeholder group formed in 2004 promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders.
Its GreenPalm scheme attempts to reward the sustainable production of palm oil by giving sustainable producers the right to sell certificates to manufacturers for a premium price.
Although the oil they receive is not necessarily sustainably certified, in buying certificates equivalent to a certain volume of palm oil a manufacturer is promoting the sustainable production of the crop.
Ethical sourcing challenges
AAK, though, has issued a cautionary note to bakers, warning the sector that simply buying RSPO-certified palm oil is not enough if they want to make claims about ethical sourcing.
MD Martin Craven said: “It is important to make clear that any user of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil must be a member of the RSPO if they want to tell their customers and stakeholders about their use of sustainable palm oil.”
He added that there are strict rules about making such claims, in order to maintain the integrity of the system, but Craven argues this factor is not always made clear from the start by suppliers.
The company said its sustainability clinics, which were initiated last year, aim to explain the complexities of making sustainability claims and strive to guide manufacturers through the process.
“As a founding member of the RSPO, the last thing we want is for businesses to be deterred from using certified sustainable palm oil, so we’re doing all we can to help them buy it and make the most of it," commented Craven.
Bread improver supplier's goal
Last December saw another bakery ingredients supplier Sonneveld, a recent RSPO member, revealing its goal to use only sustainable palm oil in its bakery ingredients from 2013.
Jorrit de Bruin, Sonneveld product group manager, told BakeryandSnacks.com that, in order to reach this target, the company is assessing the options for buying only segregated palm oil.
He said that approximately 60 per cent of Sonneveld’s products, which include bread improvers and release agents, currently contain palm oil or fractions of palm oil.