19 November 2019

Dutch Advertising Code Committee: anti-palm oil campaign The Flower Farm misleading

The Dutch Advertising Code Committee (RCC) is of the opinion that the anti-palm oil campaign of the new margarine brand The Flower Farm is misleading, inaccurate and indiscriminate. The Flower Farm acts contrary to both the Dutch Advertising Code and the Environmental Advertising Code, and has to adjust packaging, television commercial, video, social media messages and website. The European Palm Oil Alliance had filed a complaint about the new campaign.

Ruling RCC
The RCC considers all claims suggesting that palm oil always causes deforestation incorrect and therefore misleading. This also applies to the claim that palm oil exterminates animals (including orangutans). The calculation that a consumer saves 30 m2 of rainforest every year if he uses The Flower Farm margarine is in violation of the Environmental Advertising Code. To stop the misleading, The Flower Farm has to adjust the text on the package about the destruction of rainforest by palm oil. This also applies to the television commercial, the children's drawing video used in the campaign, the videos and texts on Instagram and Facebook and various texts on the website.

Support NGOs
The RCC agrees with the European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA). EPOA had filed a complaint about how the new Dutch margarine brand The Flower Farm responds to the need of consumers to make sustainable choices. EPOA received support from a number of NGOs that are committed to sustainable palm oil, namely Solidaridad, Orangutan Land Trust and IDH (Sustainable Trade Initiative).


NGOs: boycotting is not a sustainable solution
Nico Roozen of Solidaridad: “We are very happy with this statement. The Flower Farm's anti-palm oil campaign is polarizing and does not offer a sustainable solution that is widely supported. The Advertising Code Committee rightly states that indiscriminate and one-sided messaging as a wake-up call to consumers is not a justification for deception."


Science: a boycott is no solution
It is also acknowledged by scientists that a boycott of palm oil is not a solution. Professor dr.ir. Otto Hospes of Wageningen University & Research: “The Flower Farm cannot live up to its promises in their campaign. If you use palm oil-free margarine, you should not have the illusion of saving the rainforest from destruction. It would be much better if The Flower Farm were to use certified sustainable palm oil in their products.”


The Netherlands: frontrunner
In the Netherlands, MVO as representative of the Oils and Fats Industry, has also been emphasising for years: the best alternative to palm oil is sustainable palm oil. Frans Claassen, Director of MVO and chairman of EPOA, feels supported by the statement and emphasises: “There are still challenges in the production of palm oil, but the Netherlands is a frontrunner in Europe when it comes to the use of sustainable palm oil. Consumers need to know why and how sustainable palm oil production is being tackled globally, and why a boycott does not work ”.


Importance of sustainable palm oil
EPOA is convinced that sustainably-produced palm oil contributes to the solution of issues such as the global food supply, the protection of biodiversity and the socio-economic development of small farmers. Based on the marketing principle ‘demand creates supply’, EPOA calls upon to food producers and supermarkets to only source sustainably-produced palm oil. Currently the demand for sustainable palm oil is less than the supply.


Press release EPOA English

Press release EPOA Dutch

Press release Solidaridad English

Press release Solidaridad Dutch

Last modified: 19 November 2019