Morrisons has bowed to pressure from environmental charity Friends of the Earth and joined its Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Last month Friends of the Earth ran an advert in The Independent newspaper slamming the supermarket group's refusal to join the RSPO amid concerns that palm oil plantations were destroying the rainforest habitat of the orang-utan (The Grocer, 8 July, p8).

However, this week Morrisons said it would join the RSPO and promised to work towards ensuring that palm oil used in its own label products was from sustainable sources.

Chris Blundell, Morrisons' corporate affairs director, said: "We have always been in accord with the aim of the RSPO; we focused on working directly through our supply chain. Given the global nature of the palm oil market, there is a need for collective action and the RSPO provides the best means of achieving this."

Ed Matthew, corporate accountability campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: "It is great news that Morrisons has finally recognised that it can play a role in cleaning up the trade in palm oil. By joining the RSPO, Morrisons is supporting the only process committed to developing sustainably produced palm oil for the global market."

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