Earlier this week, CGF Environmental Sustainability Director, Ignacio Gavilan, participated in a live chat debate on sustainable palm oil. The debate was held by Guardian Sustainable Business and was supported by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Participants included representatives from the World Wildlife Fund, The Forest Trust, Mondelez and more.

Given the attention palm oil has gotten in recent years and calls across consumer landscapes to boycott the product, the live chat debate intended to deep dive into whether consumer boycotting had a role to play in the move towards sustainable palm oil production.

Questions raised during the discussion included:

  • What role can boycotting play in creating a more sustainable palm oil industry?

  • Beyond boycotts, how can consumers improve the sustainability of palm oil?

  • How can companies engage with the concerns of their customers?

  • What are companies doing about deforestation, biodiversity loss and treatment of workers in the palm oil supply chain?

During the debate, Ignacio brought up an interesting point regarding the communication and raising awareness amongst palm oil consumers;

“Perhaps we need to do a better job communicating outside the sector. There is little understanding by consumers of how palm oil is used in products… the complexities (HCS, migrant labour, traceability issues…) are generally ignored”, Ignacio said.

Through participation in The Consumer Goods Forum and its collective voice, companies can engage with prominent stakeholders and raise public awareness around environmental sustainability issues such as palm oil usage. The CGF welcomes opportunities such as Guardian Sustainable Business live chats to continue participating in this ongoing conversation towards more sustainable palm oil.

To learn more about Guardian Sustainable Business live chats and upcoming discussions, please visit: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/sustainable-business.