Woolworths has put out a request for information (RFI) to all suppliers and importers of palm oil in Australia to provide insight into the current availability of sustainable palm oil that is certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

The purpose of this fact finding initiative is to inform Woolworths and its private label manufacturers about availability of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) in the Australian market. 

Woolworths group manager of corporate responsibility Armineh Mardirossian said Woolworths aims to only use RSPO certified sustainable palm oil in its private label products by 2015.

“Woolworths is serious about its commitment to using only CSPO in our private label products by 2015. The purpose of the RFI is to assess the current supply levels available in Australia, as we know that only about 7 per cent of the global palm oil supply is RSPO certified. This means we have the opportunity to drive market transformation, but we recognise that this change needs to be managed in a responsible way,” Armineh said.

In March 2010, Woolworths became the first Australian retailer to set a timeframe for the transition to certified sustainable palm oil in its private label products and, in September 2010, became the first Australian retail member of the RSPO.

Woolworths is inviting feedback from all CSPO suppliers and importers to Australia to join the research effort.

“We want the whole market to get involved and be a part of this process. It is important to get a clear picture of what is available in Australia and where in the supply chain capacity building is required. This has not been done yet and is a critical step in assessing what the industry as a whole needs to do to in order to transition to CSPO as soon as practical,” Armineh said.

The RFI is an information gathering initiative and is not part of a supply tender. Interested parties can obtain the RFI questionnaire by emailing mteoh@woolworths.com.au.