Wednesday, 24 March 2010


Letter received by a supporter in Australia.

Thank-you for your letter expressing concern for the use of palm oil in products found in Coles Supermarkets. We share your concern, and respect your rights as a consumer to be able to determine ethical and sustainable choices.

At present we are not in a position to confirm that the palm oil used across our entire range of products come from sustainable sources. Our product quality standards state that where palm oil is used we aim to conform to the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil Principles & Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production, which we consider to be industry best practice.

The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil is a conglomerate of social and environmental NGO's, palm oil growers, processors & traders, consumer goods manufacturers, and retailers. Their aim is to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through cooperation and open dialogue amongst industry stakeholders.

You would appreciate that Coles does not set industry guidelines nor regulate regarding palm oil production. However, we work closely with our suppliers to strive to source environmentally sustainable, and ethical ingredients.

We recognise there are a number of private label products which contain palm oil. Our intention is to indicate through more transparent labelling which products contain palm oil as an ingredient. This would be indicated in the ingredient list.

In some cases we are able to verify the country of origin of the palm oil, and we are currently in the process of implementing a database that will allow us to verify the source of ingredients in all of our 'private label'

Once again, thank-you for your letter, and we are determined to make ethical and environmentally sustainable choices easier for our customers.

Yours Sincerely,
Kate Lyons
Customer Care Consultant