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03 December, 2009

WAITROSE MAKES PALM OIL COMMITMENT

Waitrose announces today that it will use only Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) in its own label products by the end of 2012.


The retailer has committed to achieving a quarter of the conversion within the next year. And will be using ‘Greenpalm’* as an interim measure for 100 per cent of its remaining products, while it works through its range between now and the end of 2012.

Currently, very low levels (0.001 per cent - 4 per cent) of palm oil are in around 1,000 Waitrose branded products (which represents just 10 per cent of the total own-label range). The company is already working to minimise or eliminate palm oil but the ingredient continues to be important to the texture of cakes, patisserie, biscuits and sweet and savoury pastry products.

The commitment to move to 100 per cent CSPO follows a meeting held in London on Wednesday between the Chief Executive of WWF, David Nussbaum, and Waitrose Managing Director, Mark Price.

Mark Price said: "Our mediocre rating in WWF’s Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard 2009 has toughened our resolve. We can and we will meet this ambitious target. We want to be part of the solution, not contributing to the environmental problems caused by the growth in palm oil use."

WWF-UK Chief Executive, David Nussbaum said: "WWF welcomes the announcement by Waitrose that they will only be using RSPO certified sustainable palm oil by 2012. Our recent scorecard showed that few companies had followed up their commitments with action but it is good to see a well known company like Waitrose putting its words into practice by ensuring that they will start using CSPO from next year. We hope that this will encourage many other household names to take responsibility for their actions."

Waitrose will be focusing first on two of its largest palm-oil containing categories - soaps and biscuits. These two categories alone account for 25 per cent of the palm oil the retailer uses.

Notes to Editors:

- * Greenpalm is a certified trading programme which is endorsed by RSPO. Waitrose will be buying Greenpalm oil for all its products as an interim measure, while it works through its range converting to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.

- Waitrose has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2006, and is a member of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Palm Oil committee.

- Waitrose is committed to transparent labelling, specifically labelling palm oil on its products - rather than just ‘oil’ or 'blended vegetable oils'.

WWF's first palm oil buyers' scorecard is available at: http://assets.panda.org/downloads/wwfpalmoilbuyerscorecard2009.pdf

WWF’s work on sustainable palm oil is part of its wider One Planet Food programme, which incorporates the whole food chain, from the production of commodities (like palm oil and soya) through processing and on to consumption and disposal. The goals of the programme are to radically improve the key environmental impacts of the food that is eaten in the UK, including our impact on the parts of the world richest in biodiversity. This is a complex task, and since 2008 WWF has been working in collaboration with scientists and key actors in the food system – businesses, policy makers, consumer organisations and other non-governmental organisations – to understand the impacts of the food consumed in the UK, whether grown here or imported from abroad.

For more information contact:

Jess Hughes
Corporate Communications Manager
t:01344 82 4294
f:01344 82 5211
e: jess.hughes@waitrose.co.uk
Gill Smith
Senior PR Manager, Corporate
t:01344 82 5165
m:07887898133
f:01344 82 5211
e: gill.smith@waitrose.co.uk