By Erik Hagen
The English translation of this story was published 7 April 2011
“Because of the competition we do not wish to disclose which suppliers we utilise, but we can state that our supplier of palm oil is extremely reputable,” Findus told The Future in Our Hands in the autumn of 2010.
The production of palm oil is linked to heavy destruction of the remaining rain forest in Southeast Asia. The Future in Our Hands therefore demands total candour in all links in the production and trade of the oil. But when Norwegian food manufacturers were contacted last autumn and winter, none of them could account for where the palm oil they use is produced. Findus did not even wish to disclose whom they utilise as an intermediary in Europe.
Not until January, when The Future in Our Hands told the company that other food concerns utilise the Swedish supplier AAK, did Findus reveal its supplier:
“At present we utilise the same supplier, but this may of course change with time,” Inge E. Næsset, Quality Assurance Director of Findus, informed The Future in Our Hands.
Consequently, Findus pursues the same practice as applies not only to the other Norwegian companies but also internally to Findus Group. In fact, Findus UK told BBC last year that it also utilises AAK.
This past autumn The Future in Our Hands visited plantations in the rain forest areas of Indonesia and has since then tried to track down where the palm oil on the Norwegian market comes from. The companies Mills, Norgesmøllene and Nortura informed us that they all utilise the Swedish oil producer AAK for their purchases.
But it is difficult to establish exactly which plantations and suppliers in Asia produce for the Norwegian market, as all the companies refer to the Swedish supplier for queries as to which plantations in Southeast Asia produce the palm oil. And AAK does not wish to disclose which plantations it utilises in developing countries.
Findus emphasises that its use of palm oil in Norway is very limited and that it in 2011 does not expect to use palm oil at all in its own production. In addition to this, Findus markets some products in Norway that are produced by other sections of Findus Group.