Although many downsides have been identified in its production, palm oil is not easy to replace. Companies that commit to the use of responsibly produced palm oil will direct the development of the entire industry.
Palm oil can be used in many products. Problems associated with its use arise from questions about the responsibility of its production, which is a concern in many quarters. As a pioneer in environmental issues, Kiilto is committed to using only derivatives of responsibly produced palm oil in its products.
Understanding the diversity of nature and the uniqueness of the environment comes naturally to Kiilto, a Finnish family business with a history of nearly 100 years. In addition to its domestic roots, Kiilto is an international operator, steered by the vision to be the environmental leader in its industry. Most of our professional cleaning and kitchen hygiene products bear the Nordic Ecolabel, which actively encourages us to improve our responsibility.
“This takes a pioneering approach and substantial action. An example is Kiilto’s commitment to use only responsibly produced palm oil derivatives in our products,” says Juha Issakainen, R&D manager. “From 2019 onwards, our most significant raw material for surfactants by purchase volume, sodium lauryl ether sulphate, will be produced responsibly. We will continue our determined work with other raw materials.”
Responsible production through cooperation
Palm oil use and its negative impacts, especially on the environment and social equality in production countries, have featured regularly in the headlines. There is a reason for this: palm oil is an important component in many industries, and demand for it has caused an explosion in production.
The international Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was established in 2003 to curb the problem of uncontrolled production. The organisation’s members include oil palm growers, oil refiners, suppliers, end-product manufacturers, retailers, financiers, and environmental and non-governmental organisations. The RSPO seeks to reduce environmental issues in primary production countries and make oil production more transparent.
Unique material source
A global shift is underway from fossil and slowly regenerating sources of materials to renewable sources. Palm kernel oil, unsuitable for food use, is used in cleaning agents and cosmetics. Its production does not itself take up land area from food production.
Although many downsides have been identified with its production, palm oil is not easy to replace. For example, the oil palm produces a yield per hectare 4.5 times greater than rapeseed. This means that replacing palm oil with another vegetable oil requires a much larger cultivated area. The composition of palm kernel oil is different from other plant oils, which are not as suitable for use in the production of raw materials for cleaning agents and cosmetics.
“Companies committed to using responsibly produced palm oil will direct the development of the whole industry. This is why we at Kiilto believe we should be responsible for making environmentally sustainable decisions in guiding our industry in the right direction,” says Issakainen.
Moderate production and traceability are key
The RSPO has defined criteria for responsibly produced palm oil, mainly related to the traceability of the palm oil supply chain. The companies committed to the RSPO follow eight core principles and 39 criteria, which enhance ecological, social and financial responsibility in palm oil production.
“Continuous improvement is part of the Kiilto company culture. By making responsible choices, including in our purchase of raw materials, we also help our customers operate more sustainably. This is expected of us, and we also expect it from our cooperation networks,” says Issakainen in summing things up.
Director of RDI