Tiger, nice items but snacks with outlaw labels and palm oil everywhere

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Tiger, the Danish designer giftware giant, also offers snacks of various kinds in its stores. We screened its quality. The outcome is discouraging: outlaw labels and palm oil everywhere.

Tiger: sustainability in furniture but not in food

Tiger Stores, established in Copenhagen in 1995, now number 745, in 30 countries. Throughout Europe as well as in the U.S., Korea and Japan. Each month they offer 300 new items-in addition to the 800 basic, seasonally rotating items-made by about 600 suppliers. Predominantly Chinese, with a touch of Scandinavian design. Household items and a variety of gadgets including games, hobbies, colorful knick-knacks, food and drinks. Globalization and low cost. Sales and ROI (0) up 20% in 2016.

The Flying Tiger Copenhagen‘s Corporate Social Responsibility is described in a 2016 report of no less than 120 pages, 71 of which are devoted to financial aspects. (1) Sustainability of procurement-(2) the most critical area on such extensive supply chains-is based on a Supplier Code of Conduct. (3) In line with standards set by ILO(International Labor Organization) and group policies on child labor, domestic labor, and animal welfare. Application of the Code is a condition for supplier qualification and is subject to verification through audits by local certification bodies. (4) Instead, the focus on environmental sustainability has been on stores and their furniture, with a view to FSC(Forest Stewardship Council) certification.

Illegal labels and palm oil everywhere

However, the food sold by Tiger escapes legality as well as its stated CSR commitments. Two areas of necessary improvement are noted:

labels of several food products sold by Tiger in Italy do not comply with current European rules. (5) Compliance with legislation, as is well known, is the pre-requisite of corporate social responsibility. And Tiger is responsible for correctly informing consumers about foods sold under its own brand name. (6) But poorly cut-out stickers affixed to various products do not highlight-as they should-allergenic ingredients. Other labels carry confusing lists and sloppy translations of ingredients that are completely meaningless to consumers and therefore outlawed, (7)

 

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almost all snacks, confectionery and baked goods contain palm oil. Shoddy grease, certainly in line with low cost-high profit but not as much with stated policies on sustainable procurement. (8) It is no coincidence that Scandinavian countries-after Italy, France and Spain-have also begun to distance themselves from the palm tree. Since its production is a primary cause of land grabbing and deforestation, denounced by the European Parliament itself. In addition to child slavery documented by Amnesty International. (9)
Not to mention the poor nutritional value. And to the known health hazards involving palm and HFSS foods more generally.

What then to expect from the Danish tiger? Less greenwashing, more responsibility!

Notes

(0) Return On Investment
(1) Tiger’s 2016 CSR report, at https://corporate.flyingtiger.com/annual_reports/annual_report_2016.pdf
(2) Sustainable sourcing, pages 29 and 30 of the report referred to in footnote 1
(3) www.corporate.yingtiger.com/csr
(4) 225 audits in 2016 are reported, including repeat inspections in case of non-compliance. Which concerned health and safety conditions, excessive working hours, inadequate wages
(5) EU Regulation 1169/11
(6) Reg. EU 1169/11, Article 8
(7) The very bad hydrogenated palm kernel oil, for example, is mentioned as ‘fully solidified palm heart vegetable fat’ (?) in the ingredient lists of Gem Biscuits and Choco Bar Caramel. Läkerol ‘tablets with sweetener’ lack a sales name in the ‘raspberry and lemongrass’ version, nor do they specify the nature of the vegetable oils used in the ‘eucalyptus’ and ‘salmiak’ ones
(8) Therefore, it seems no coincidence that in 120 pages of CSR report, not a single line was devoted to the sustainability of food sold by Tiger. Although these form an integral and even marginal part of the business
(9) Even ‘Danish butter cookies’-despite tradition and consumers’ legitimate expectations-contain both palm fat and rapeseed oil in higher amounts than butter. (!) The good name of Italian taralli is also desecrated with ‘Tarallini snacks – Crunchy Italians’ products where palm is listed second in ingredient list.