I needed some candy at work the other day, but reached for a Kar’s Nuts “Sweet n Salty Mix” bag instead of candy. While chomping away somewhat guilt-free, I read the ingredients. Uh oh. Palm oil. Now I feel really guilty. I quickly wrote them, espousing the evils of palm oil as a scourge on earth. Here’s their response:
The Palm Kernel Oil in Sweet N Salty Mix is Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Certified. The RSPO is a “not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.” They work to minimize the negative impact of palm oil cultivation on both the environment and communities in palm oil-producing regions of the world. For more information, please refer to http://www.rspo.org.
Our Certified Palm Kernel Oil must originate from a plantation managed and certified per the principles and criteria of the RSPO. For us to claim its usage of RSPO Certified sustainable palm oil, our entire supply chain (producers, refiners, processors, traders, distributors and manufacturers) are required to be RSPO members and RSPO Certified. (There must be a full compliance from the plantation all the way through to the final product in which the palm/palm kernel oil is used, in this case the chocolate gem candy.) Additionally, RSPO members undergo a rigorous initial certification and annual re-certification process which includes onsite audits as well.
Kar’s Nuts takes great care to ensure that our products contain ingredients that are both delicious and sustainable. We have a very detailed ingredient and supplier approval process and many other controls at various steps in our process to ensure that products produced at our facility are of good quality as well as sustainably and ethically sourced.
Quality Assurance Manager
Well, this certainly sounds amazing! It contains all the right buzzwords, i.e., “from plantation all the way to the final product.” Great for Kar’s Nuts! Sounds like they’re aware of the huge, soul-sucking palm oil problem.
But then I despaired. Why? Because RSPO. So I wrote them back this morning, telling them that oftentimes RSPO certification isn’t worth the paper it’s written on (for instance, if it’s pursuant to the Green Palm certificates or Mass Balance scheme). I’ll post their response when I get it.