Sir, Last week, Selfridges announced it had eliminated palm oil from its own-brand foods. We think this is the wrong decision.

Compared to other crops like soybean, sunflower or rapeseed, oil palms produce up to 10 times more vegetable oil per hectare of land, so switching to other vegetable oils could result in more primary forests being converted into agricultural land, not less. Instead, we should focus on making commodities sustainable.

Sustainable palm oil can help fulfil increasing global food demand, support affordable food prices and poverty reduction, and safeguard social interests, communities and workers, while dramatically reducing stress and degradation on the environment and wildlife.

The transformative 2018 RSPO standard gives verifiable assurances that the oil palm is not only produced sustainably but also deforestation and exploitation-free.

To help mainstream sustainable production, the downstream market must now commit to buying certified sustainable palm oil and support the efforts of growers. One RSPO Credit ensures that one tonne of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil has entered the supply chain.

It’s unfortunate that Selfridges has taken a stance from which it cannot have a positive impact.

We hope that Selfridges will make evidence publicly available that the commodities substituted for palm oil meet equally stringent sustainability standards.

Datuk Darrel Webber, CEO, RSPO