Fife Council hopes to lead the way in reducing palm oil use

Fife Council is hoping to lead the way in reducing its use of palm oil products.

At the assets and corporate services committee on Thursday, councillors were told that it was hoped that the use of non-sustainable palm oil would be reduced over the next year.

Currently, the council does use some palm oil food products, but was reviewing all contracts to see where reductions could be made.

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Tariq Ditta, Facilities Management, told the committee: “We will minimise the use of non RSPO products within one year, and where we can’t use alternatives without palm oil, we will look at using products which are RSPO certified.”

Palm oil crops, grown in Africa and Asia, is having a negative effect on tropical areas which are being deforested for palm trees.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have said they are extremely concerned about deforestation and the negative impact this having on the population of endangered animals such as orang-utans.

Cllr Kathleen Leslie, who asked for the report at a full council meeting in May, said: “I want to thank you for this report. I know the biggest challenge is that the use of palm oil is not always easily identifiable.

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“How will you measure how much palm oil products the council will be using?”

Mr Ditta said: “We will work with all our suppliers to see if there is alternative products we could be using. We are hoping within the next year to be using less than 0.5 per cent of non sustainable palm oil.”

Cllr David MacDarmid thanked his colleague for bring the topic to attention, and added: “This is only scratching the surface. How will we persuade other businesses to follow in Fife Council’s lead?”

Keith Winters, Executive Director of Enterprise and Environment, told councillors: “We will be informal and encourage the community to follow our lead. The bigger challenge is always going to be in governmental and with trade, where we have no leverage into those supply changes.

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“But as a broader campaign we can lead the way in helping people make choices in a capitalist society and make consumer choices that don’t support it.”

Ken Gourlay, Head of Assets, Transportation and Environment, added: “We can also work with other councils through COSLA and Scotland Excel. It might start off relatively small but if we could get council support right across the UK it would make a huge impact.”

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