The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in collaboration with City Shop recently held its “Say Yes to Sustainable Palm Oil” campaign in Beijing and Shanghai. The promotional activities were a first for RSPO in terms of promoting sustainable palm oil directly to consumers in China.

In line with China’s Qixi Festival, otherwise known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day, the romantically themed activities introduced sustainable palm oil to shoppers and encouraged them to support sustainable palm oil.  For example, the shoppers were encouraged to design and create their own scented candles made out of sustainable palm oil – a great gift for their loved ones while supporting sustainable consumption. As the world’s second largest importer and third largest consumer of palm oil, China’s significance in making the shift to sustainable palm oil cannot be underestimated.

Many voices, one message  

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the China Sustainable Retail Roundtable (CSRR) joined forces to hold China’s annual Sustainable Consumption Week. On this occasion, consumers and companies were brought together to help further encourage the implementation of sustainable consumption policies and develop consumer awareness around sustainability. As one of the signature activities of the Sustainable Consumption Week in 2016, the RSPO activities attracted much attention and support from many quarters.

Jiang Nanqing, the National Officer of the UNEP China office, who attended the event said, “In the new era of sustainable development, developing awareness around sustainable consumption among consumers is critical. The novel activities of RSPO’s Sustainable Consumption Week will allow more people to develop a better understanding of what RSPO stands for and what sustainable palm oil is and to help consumers understand how they can support sustainable consumption and ultimately contribute to the sustainable development of our environment.”

More than 50% of products use palm oil

Palm oil is closely related to our everyday lives and widely used in many supermarket products, including chocolate, ice cream, cereal, potato chips, instant noodles, artificial butter and other foods, as well as lipstick, skincare products, soap, bath lotion and other daily necessities. More than 50% of products on supermarket shelves use palm oil.

Promoting the idea that every customer can consume sustainably

City Shop’s Beijing store administrative manager Li Jianjun said, “As a high-end supermarket dealing exclusively with imported products, City Shop has been committed to bringing a healthy, environment-friendly and sustainable consumption experience to our shoppers. We will use action to support the promotion of sustainable palm oil and to promote the idea that every customer is able to consume in a sustainable manner.”

Change consumer habits, change the market

As one of the organizers of the event, RSPO views consumers as having a key role in promoting sustainable palm oil. RSPO China Representative Jiang Yun said, “RSPO hopes to build on the opportunity that the Sustainable Consumption Week presents to promote products in supermarkets that contain sustainable palm oil to Chinese consumers.

This will help consumers understand the range of palm oil production as well as the role of sustainable palm oil in the sustainable development of the industry. The approval and support that consumers give us will encourage more companies to adopt RSPO certification which will in turn change the market, promote sustainable development of the industry and contribute to the protection of our living environment.”  


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