Palm oil, Europe vs. After Italy and Spain, France and Belgium, it is Sweden’s turn

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Palm oil, Europe vs. European consumAtors also move silently, with the power of their purchasing choices, ‘palm no thanks.’ And the supply chain responds. After Italy and Spain, France, and Belgium, (1) it is Sweden’s turn.

Scandinavian giant Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Sweden (2) recently announced that it has removed palm oil from 98 percent of its products. Confectionery and cookies, snacks and sweet and savory, with the brands OLW, Göteborgs Kex and Panda. The ‘100% Palm oil free’ goal is almost achieved! And in 9 years of work, explains CSR manager Stina Petrini, (3) the Swedish industry has saved its consumers from as much as 1,500 tons of saturated fat.

The Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (4) in turn had interviewed the writer last month. As an activist and originator of the petition against palm oil that initiated change in Italy. Evidence of the growing attention not only of Mediterranean peoples but of the whole of Europe to the critical issues of the palm tree.

Sweden’sSecond Swedish NationalPension Fund (AP2), however, remains at the center of criticism for its involvement with a New York-based agriculture investment fund (5) implicated in various land grabbing operations in Latin America. Indeed, civil society in Sweden has joined the chorus of international protests (6) and signature collections. Supported by universities whose pension funds have been used in activities that are anything but ‘socially responsible.

Palm oil, Europe vs.

The reasons are simple and pertain to fundamental, human and environmental rights. Since today palm oil means:

– primary motive of land robbery, land grabbing, from their rightful inhabitants
– causing ecocide in tropical forests, with devastation of biodiversity and prohibitive greenhouse gas emissions
– slavery and child labor on plantations, when even certified ‘sustainable,’ as documented by Amnesty International
– nutritional imbalances, (7) due to thepalmitic acid and saturated fats (8) that tropical fat provides without any compensatory benefits, (9)
health hazard, of children especially, because of the mutagenic and carcinogenic process contaminants it contains in amounts up to 10 times higher than other refined vegetable oils.

Palm oil? No thanks, in fact just Enough!

Notes

(1) The Belgian retail chain Delhaize, even, after launching its own brand of palm oil-free ‘Choco’ cream, had been sued by Ferrero. But justice triumphed over the Piedmontese giant’s reckless litigation
(2) Norway-based Orkla Group had sales of 4.14 billion euros in 2016
(3) A name, a program! I wonder if there is a distant kinship with the Carlin Petrini founder of Slow Food?
(4) https://www.svd.se/jurist-om-myndigheternas-tioariga-tystnad-kriminellt, https://www.svd.se/industrin-skalver-palmolja-en-hornsten-i-skrapmatenANNEX SvD-palmoil
(5) TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture LLC (TCGA). See https://www.grain.org/article/entries/5336-foreign-pension-funds-and-land-grabbing-in-brazil. In connection with land robbery on more than 250,000 hectares, criminal proceedings for human rights violations are already underway in Brazil. V. http://www.farmlandgrab.org/post/view/2636
(6) For latest updates, see Grassroots International and Institutional Investor
(7) Just Uppsala University published in the scientific journal Diabetes, in 2004, a study conducted in Sweden on palm, abdominal fat and fatty liver, at https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/l’palm-oil-increases-abdominal-fat
(8) See also, most recently, the meta-study conducted on premature mortality and fat profiles, in 128 thousand individuals, in Jama Internal Medicine, doi 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2417, http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2530902
(9) Saturated fats are also contained in dairy products and meats, which, however, have their place in every nutritional recommendation because they offer high biological value proteins, vitamins, and minerals