It has been declared that 705 products from 18 countries are now free from palm oil, thanks to the International Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Programme (POFCAP) launched in Australia. Those products include skincare products, pet food, and the POFCAP orangutan logo can even be found on the food and drinks menu of a restaurant in the United Kingdom.
POFCAP is the world’s first palm oil-free certification standard for products, companies and manufacturing processes and it has been out there for a year. By its second anniversary, the certifying body intends to have certified a total of 1,000 products.
“We wanted to help consumers find products that are genuinely palm oil and palm oil derivative-free and independently tested, and at the same time create a new funding stream to help organisations around the world that are working to protect rainforests,” said Co-founder Bev Luff.
In the year since POFCAP launched, it has been approved for use in 13 countries including Austria, Spain, Sweden and the UK, and is waiting for clearance from five more.
The organisation is also helping companies gain more visibility into their supply chains. “Through our research over the years we learned very quickly that many companies had no idea that they were using palm oil derivatives, and so the palm oil-free claims on their products were false. We believe it was ignorance rather than intentional,” said Luff. Part of the difficulty is that palm oil and its derivatives have hundreds of names, many of which are not obviously linked the crop.
POFCAP charges two sets of fees for each product to be certified: an application fee and a second fee for successful application, as well as a licence fee to be renewed every three years. The cost is determined by the company’s annual revenue. The idea is for profits to go towards partner NGOs, such as the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, once POFCAP is on better financial footing.