Singapore

19 F&B firms pledge to source for sustainable palm oil

Singapore has been free from the scourge of haze for the past two years, but at least 19 food and beverage (F&B) companies here are not taking the clear skies for granted.

The 19 - including big names such as Crystal Jade, F&N and Tung Lok, as well as smaller businesses such as Veganburg in Eunos and NomVNom, which has outlets in Clarke Quay and Tai Seng - recently committed to sourcing for sustainable palm oil.

Ten of them made the commitment to do so this year, and yesterday, they officially joined the South-east Asia Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil (Saspo), an initiative led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore.

The new additions to Saspo, which include Tung Lok Group and Commonwealth Capital, whose portfolio includes brands such as Pastamania and Baker and Cook, bring the number of member companies in the alliance to 15.

Saspo is the first private-sector-led initiative in the region to address the need for sustainable palm oil in relation to the haze.

The other four F&B businesses that use sustainable palm oil are Veganburg, NomVNom, Grain and Burger Beer Bistro.

They are not part of the alliance but have committed to sourcing for sustainable palm oil since last year, after outreach efforts by volunteer group People's Movement to Stop Haze (PM.Haze).

Together, these 19 companies account for more than 200 F&B outlets in Singapore.

This is a fraction of the 7,679 F&B establishments here, according to 2016 figures from the Department of Statistics released last year.

But Ms Elaine Tan, WWF Singapore's chief executive, is confident that more companies will come on board.

CONTRIBUTOR

The cultivation of oil palms in countries such as Indonesia has long been pointed out as a major contributor of air pollution in the region due to drainage of carbon-rich peatland, deforestation and slash-and-burn tactics used by plantation companies and farmers to prepare land for crops.

Environmental groups are touting sustainable palm oil as an alternative.

This refers to palm oil from plantations that adhere to strict standards set out by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil.

audreyt@sph.com.sg

Environment