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APOA Urges HUL to Reconsider Palm Oil Reduction in Soaps

18 Jun 2024 4:41 pm
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MUMBAI, 18 Jun (Commoditiescontrol): The Asian Palm Oil Alliance (APOA), representing the apex edible oil industry associations of five major edible oil importing Asian countries, has appealed to Hindustan Unilever (HUL) to reconsider its decision to reduce palm oil content in its soaps by 25%. The APOA's concern is rooted in the potential negative impact on planting activities in palm oil growing regions and the profound effect on small and marginal farmers. This decision, they argue, could undermine government efforts aimed at ensuring reasonable incomes and improving the standard of living for these farmers.

In a letter addressed to HUL's CEO and Managing Director Rohit Jawa, APOA Chairman Atul Chaturvedi warned that the proposed reduction could jeopardize global efforts to secure the livelihoods of millions of palm oil farmers, particularly smallholders. Chaturvedi pointed out that while palm oil prices have increased due to higher input costs, targeting palm oil specifically for reduction is unfair, as price fluctuations are driven by the broader dynamics of demand and supply that also affect other edible oils such as soya and sunflower.

APOA has urged HUL to reconsider its decision, emphasizing that substituting palm oil with cheaper alternatives could have adverse effects on palm oil farmers worldwide. "Substituting palm oil with cheaper options undermines global endeavors to ensure living wages for workers and incomes for farmers," the letter stated. The organization highlighted several government initiatives focused on developing a sustainable palm oil ecosystem, including India's National Mission on Edible Oils - Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), which underscores palm oil's critical role in economic empowerment.

The APOA reminded HUL of numerous studies from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Ghana, which have demonstrated the pivotal role of palm oil in uplifting smallholder livelihoods and reducing poverty. These studies and initiatives showcase the significant contributions of palm oil to the economic well-being of farmers and the broader agricultural community.

HUL, a leading player in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, has cited rising palm oil prices and environmental concerns as reasons for the planned reduction in palm oil content in its soaps. The APOA, comprising members from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, aims to promote sustainable palm oil production and consumption. The alliance's appeal underscores the interconnectedness of global agricultural practices and the far-reaching implications of corporate decisions on local economies and farming communities.

As the debate continues, the APOA's call to action highlights the need for a balanced approach that considers both environmental sustainability and the livelihoods of millions of farmers dependent on the palm oil industry.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau; +91 98201 3018)

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