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Is your Christmas party food threatening the rainforests?

Is your Christmas party food threatening the rainforests?
Choosing ethically sourced Christmas party food can help reduce threats to rainforests a new survey says.
 
A new survey reveals that a growing number of seasonal foods including Christmas puddings and mince pies now only use palm oil which is produced in way that reduces harm to the world’s rainforests.
 
Many of the biggest names in Christmas party food including the Co-operative Group, M&S, Premiere Food and Waitrose makers of some of the UK's most popular Christmas puddings and mince pies, have all made a commitment to reduce or only use sustainably sourced palm oil in their products.
 
In the survey carried out by the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and Ethical Consumer magazine some of the UK's biggest Christmas party food companies were surveyed on their use of palm oil or its derivatives. [2]
The survey was carried out in response to the increasing threat that unsustainable palm oil [3] is posing to the world’s rainforests, and consequently, to the people that rely almost entirely on these forests for their livelihoods.
 
Having destroyed vast areas of forest in countries including Indonesia which is home to orang utans, palm oil companies are now planning to expand into the rainforests of the Congo Basin in Africa, home to lowland gorillas and chimpanzees.
 
Simon Counsell, Executive Director of The Rainforest Foundation UK said: "We commend the producers of Christmas party treats that have committed to reducing or using only sustainably sourced palm oil because by doing so, they are helping to ensure the long-term survival of Africa’s rainforest, its people and unique wildlife.”
 
The top scoring companies in the survey include the Co-op, M&S, Premier Foods and Waitrose.
 
The bottom scoring companies include ASDA/Wal-mart, Iceland and Mondelez International. Leonie Nimmo, researcher at Ethical Consumer said:
 “Our latest research shows that some companies have put their commitments to sustainable palm oil into practice and made significant changes in their supply chains.”
“However, others, including Tesco, ASDA and Cadbury still have a serious amount of work to do to address the issue across their global operations.”
 
The Christmas party food survey is the latest initiative of a campaign to encourage consumers to buy products that have the top rated palm oil policies, forcing those companies that are not taking their environmental responsibilities seriously to use more sustainably sourced palm oil.
 
Details of the ethical palm oil score for many other products can also be found in the Rainforest Foundation’s online guide, here: www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/Christmas_Party_Food
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18 December 2013
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