Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Visions for Change: Spotlight on palm oil

The Visions for Change event series examines topical environmental and social issues making the headlines, and considers the changes being made by individuals, organizations and whole countries to create a more socially responsible and sustainable global society.

This “Spotlight on Palm Oil” event is organised in partnership with the University’s Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security; an interdisciplinary hub of research, teaching and consulting expertise created to support decision making to transform agri-food systems and food security. The event aims to explore palm oil supply chains from a variety of perspectives.

Palm oil is the most consumed vegetable oil in the world, found in roughly 50% of packaged supermarket products. It is also a highly controversial ingredient. The palm oil boom has driven deforestation and habitat destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia, where 80% of the world’s palm oil is produced. Yet, as palm oil requires less land than other oil crops, moving to alternatives is not necessarily a viable solution.

An organisation called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has developed a set of environmental and social criteria for the production of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. 19% of all palm oil produced globally is now certified by the RSPO, however, some argue that the scheme does not go far enough. Iceland supermarket recently pledged to remove all palm oil from own-brand products by 2019, citing a belief that guaranteed sustainable palm oil is still not available on the mass market.

With global demand for palm oil predicted to rise significantly in coming years, this event seeks to explore how responsible individuals and institutions should respond to this complex issue. This is particularly relevant to the University, where a Palm Oil Policy is currently being developed in order to guide future purchasing decisions. The policy will be jointly owned by the University’s Department for Social Responsibility and SustainabilityProcurement Office and Department for Accommodation, Catering and Events. It is hoped that the commitments will contribute to change within the wider public sector and beyond.

Contributors will include:

Dr. Kirsteen Shields (Chairing); Lecturer in International Law and Food Security, Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, University of Edinburgh, who advised on the University’s Palm Oil Policy

Dr. Fiona Borthwick ; Programme Director for MSc in Global Food Security and Nutrition, Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, University of Edinburgh, who is currently living on a palm oil plantation

Alexis Heeren; Supply Chain Projects Coordinator, Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability, University of Edinburgh, who leads on the development of the University’s Palm Oil Policy

Rikke Netterstrom; Managing Director of Helikonia, sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement and Board-level engagement to promote responsible business practices and disclosure at major Asian and international companies.

Prof Jaboury Ghazoul; Director of the Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes, University of Edinburgh is a plant ecologist, working mainly on tropical forest ecology and land use change in Southeast Asia, and India, and also has projects in in Africa and Latin America.

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Feb 26 2019 18.00 - 19.30

Visions for Change: Spotlight on palm oil

Entry is on a first come first served basis. If you are late, we cannot guarantee your place.
This event may be photographed and/or recorded for promotional or recruitment materials for the University and University approved third parties.

Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation,High School Yards, Edinburgh, EH8