Monday, May 16, 2011

Save the Cerrado: Update: Reply from Sainsbury's

My last post was a re-posting for WWF about their new campaign to Save the Cerrado in Brazil. CLICK HERE to read the post.  The campaign was asking UK citizens to email their supermarkets asking them to commit to responsibly sourced soya. 


So far the only supermarket to have replied to me is Sainsbury and here's what they had to say: 
Sourcing with integrity to protect the world's natural resources is key to our business. We take the environmental effects of our products and commodities used in them, such as soya, very seriously. We are currently in the process of reviewing the usage of soya in our supply chains to understand how we can approach this complex issue in order to ensure that the soya we use does not adversely impact the environment.
We have recently joined the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) to help influence how this initiative develops. At present no RTRS certified soya is available in the UK. We plan to work closely with the RTRS, and other retailer members, in order to ensure that the development of the RTRS is appropriate for the UK market. 
It is clear we need to build a multi-faceted approach to soya and we can assure you that we are dedicating time and resource to finding an appropriate solution. We have learnt a lot from our work on sustainable sourcing of commodities such as timber and palm oil and are proud of what we have achieved in these areas.
We are active members of the WWF Forest and Trade Network and through our work converting products to sustainable sources, over 90% of the wood used for Sainsbury’s products is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified or recycled. 
We were the first retailer to make a commitment to only use certified sustainable palm oil in our own brand products by the end of 2014 and are active members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Our digestive and rich tea biscuits and standard bars of soap are already certified sustainable. We plan to launch a number of additional products over the coming months.
If you would like more information about our progress on sourcing of commodities such as palm oil and timber please see www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/cr.
We appreciate you taking the time to contact us and for giving us the chance to respond.
Kind regards
Ross Cooke 
Customer Manager
Sainsbury's does have a good track record and it is encouraging to receive a speedy reply with an overall positive and responsible response, my only reservation is that I'm always slightly suspicious when companies, corporations and governments use the word 'appropriate', as I can't help feel that the double meaning behind it is that if its not profitable, too difficult, too time-consuming, not a priority, etc then its not longer appropriate and therefore not feasible,  not do-able, dropped, forgotten and ignored. And...'appropriate' does appear a few times in this email...I'll give Sainsbury's the benefit of the doubt and hope they make the right decision. 

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