Ian Bowles (Premier Foods)
When the UK’s largest brand food producer Premier Foods set out a plan in 2008 to become a leader in sourcing RSPO certified sustainable palm oil by 2015 across all its brand products, it wasn’t mere rhetoric. They meant business.
Indeed, by the end of 2011, 21 relevant manufacturing sites were RSPO certified by BM TRADA Certification (BMTC), and seven more have been added to the company’s multi-site RSPO certification in 2012.
The demands of a multi-site certification can be a challenge, but as Premier Foods Head of Sustainability, Ian Bowles, says: “It’s complex but it can be done. And the benefits are clear. We set out to take a leadership role on sustainable palm oil procurement and to achieve a competitive advantage in the market. I believe gaining RSPO certification through BM TRADA has taken us a long way towards that objective.
“We have the assurance that our sites have been independently assessed against, and are compliant with, requirements of the RSPO Supply Chain Certification Standard. Centralised administrative control means we optimise resources and time, as well as reducing audit, maintenance and certification costs. Group-wide, we have a consistent approach to procedures, training and reporting. Most importantly, our customers and consumers know, and have evidence of, our commitment to responsible and sustainable procurement. It has brought all-round improvement.”
Many misconceptions surround the palm oil issue, and therefore for Premier Foods to be able to give consumers the confidence that its products contain responsibly sourced palm oil is imperative.
Says Ian: “Palm oil is an amazing, high yielding resource, and when farmed sustainably uses significantly less land than alternatives. Fundamental to our vision was to work with those NGOs campaigning on palm oil procurement, work which has received accolades from the RSPO and the World Wildlife Fund UK. That tells me we are on the right track.”
Find out more about Premier Foods commitment to sustainability.