Palm oil is an ingredient in five of our products that require a saturated, vegetable fat. We use only certified traceable palm oil and work actively with our supplier to ensure that the palm oil is sustainably produced. Many consumers are aware and concerned about the challenges involved in palm oil production. We would like to share our view on palm oil and what actions we are taking in order to ensure long-term and sustainable production. We strongly oppose the deforestation and exploitation that occur in the production of palm oil. In addition to being a member of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) our supplier also cooperates with Proforest. The purpose of the collaboration is to ensure mill traceability and monitor high risk areas to avoid uncontrollable fires.
The oil palm is extremely productive and is thereby a crop of global importance. In order to feed a growing population, we will have to utilise high yielding crops but focus on long-term sustainability. To swap palm oil for another vegetable based oil, such as coconut oil, might in fact cause new problems. Therefore, we don’t believe that boycotting palm oil is the solution. If all the food producers around the world who are aware of the palm oil issues were to stop using certified palm oil, all efforts to build sustainable production would end. What wouldn’t end is the irresponsible production of palm oil. Neither organisations such as WWF and Greenpeace believe that a boycott of palm oil is the solution.
Products with palm oil
We use palm oil in the Vanilla Custard, Creamy Oat Organic, Creamy Oat Fraiche, påMackan and in our ice cream. The palm oil makes a very good replacement for animal fat in products that require a saturated fat. We choose a certification based on the best available option for each product. We use certified palm oil that is produced without deforestation or destruction of peatlands and kept apart from non-certified palm oil throughout the supply chain. In our conventional products there is segregated palm oil and we use identity preserved oil in our organic product.
Palm oil is certified to four verifications provided by RSPO. We use the top two certifications.
Identity Preserved (IP)
Certified palm oil, grown isolated from all other oil palm sources and identifiable to the plantation.
Certified palm oil, kept apart from non-certified palm oil. Traceable back to the mill where oil from certified plantations is mixed.
Mass Balance (MB)
Certified and non-certified palm oil is mixed and not traceable.
Book & Claim (B&C)
The Green Palm Certificate is available for manufacturers to purchase, from an RSPO-certified grower, in order to support the production of certified palm oil. The actual oil purchased is non-certified.
We are a very small purchaser of palm oil, but with our commitment we believe that we can have a positive influence on sustainably produced palm oil. We set the standards and work closely with our supplier to push the process forward. RSPO is being criticized for their slow process and failure to audit companies. In addition to the RSPO membership and commitment, our supplier (AAK) have initiated a cooperation with Proforest. The cooperation involves:
– Secure traceability to palm oil mills, enabling AAK to identify the origin of all raw materials
– Monitoring high risk areas via remote sensing and alert systems
– Mapping areas where fires have occurred to take precautions and identify deficiencies
What are the challenges with the RSPO certification?
Fire and deforestation of the rain forest is a serious problem caused by the expansion of palm oil plantations. The RSPO standard does not allow fires within certified plantations, except for in certain controlled conditions. RSPO continuously monitor signals that indicate fires in certified forest areas to minimize damage. In order to ensure the efforts are implemented, certified growers must report on a monthly basis suspected fires, ground controls as well as measures taken. We are aware that the RSPO certification is not enough. Additional efforts are needed to improve work on certification, traceability and keeping the issue alive with our supplier. However, the RSPO certification is still the prime option enabling social and environmental organizations to influence and improve current conditions. We want to take responsibility as a producer and push for a sustainable production of palm oil. We believe that we can do the most good by purchasing certified palm oil, continue to work with our supplier and use the membership in the RSPO to voice our opinions, and support further actions taken as for example the cooperation with Proforest.
The majority of organic crops, whether oats or carrots, are fertilised with bone meal. The simple reason for this is that KRAV (who set the rules for Swedish organic certification) don’t allow the use of commercial fertilisers. And, unfortunately, there isn’t any real alternative.
Obviously we aren’t happy with this situation and we are working to achieve change. Among other things, we are participating in a research project on sustainable food together with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. But this is something that will take time. A shift in Swedish agriculture won’t happen overnight.
Fortunately we aren’t alone in our efforts. Because this isn’t just an issue that applies to oats; it applies to all organic fruit and vegetables. And to everything made from organic cereals, such as bread and pasta.
But it’s important to remember that what’s in the soil doesn’t actually affect the final product. All of the products in our range (including the two organic ones) are 100% vegetable. There is not the slightest trace of animal products in them and they meet all of the criteria for vegan labelling according to both Animal Rights Sweden and the Vegan Society.
Everything we make, we make on Swedish oats. If you are wondering what makes Swedish oats so special, the answer is very simple. They grow strong and tall in the Nordic climate, which is a crazy mix of long sunny days (and nights in the summer) mixed with short periods of intense rain. Moreover, many of the nasty pesticides that are used on oats in the rest of Europe are totally forbidden in Sweden. And the minimal traces of heavy metals that you find in regular Swedish oats are not significantly greater than those found in organic Swedish oats and fall well below what is considered to be safe for consumption. And this makes Swedish oats rather unique.
Now some of you might have noticed that it says It’s Swedish! on the front of our packages and then you turn them around and it says they are produced in Germany. That’s weird, isn’t it? The truth is that 2 of our products are actually packaged (not produced) in northern Germany because the packaging facilities there are among the safest in the world. Our fraiche is packaged in Finland for exactly the same reason. All of this is pretty logical if you think about it, after all we are a small Swedish company with a large international fan base.
Because we place special demands on the cleanliness of our raw oats, we are able to guarantee that Oatly products contain less than 100 ppm (mg/kg product) gluten from wheat, rye and barley. This is comparable to products that may be labeled “Very low gluten” and which are allowed to contain max 100 ppm gluten. We guarantee the same limits for all of the products in our range. Products that are labeled “gluten-free” may not contain more than 20 ppm gluten, and the gluten content in Oatly’s products is not this low.
US: Our products in the US are made from certified gluten-free oats and are labeled gluten-free.
We have chosen to be a transparent food company. Amongst other things, this means that our website shows where our ingredients come from. We purchase products from companies who comply with our requirements in areas such as quality, price and delivery performance. Our procedures and purchasing policy comply with the recommendations of the UN and the Swedish government regarding business relationships with other countries. We consider issues such as how we can create a better environment, how we can reduce the environmental impact of the food industry and how we can improve people’s health by reducing animal-based food intake.