The Co-operative Group has claimed it is the largest UK supermarket to certify all of its palm oil as sustainable.

The retailer is purchasing accredited GreenPalm certificates from a co-operative of smallholders who are producing sustainable palm oil, accredited by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

The pledge is part of the society’s Ethical Plan, launched earlier this year, in which it set out plans to lead UK retail on forest protection. It currently has 81 own-label products that contain fully traceable, sustainable palm oil.

“Deforestation and the loss of natural habitat for the orang-utan and other endangered species are major issues, but, as a consumer-owned retailer, we are determined to play our part in supporting sustainable solutions," said Sean Toal, acting chief executive for The Co-op’s food retail business.

The Grocer revealed on Saturday that the society was planning to switch its bananas to 100% Fairtrade by early 2012, in line with Sainsbury's and Waitrose.

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Premier Foods announces palm oil move (24 September 2011)
Sainsbury’s to up sustainable palm oil use (18 June 2011)
Daily Bread: Well oiled (13 June 2011)