UK high-end department store Selfridges has become the first major retailer to remove palm oil from all of its private brand food products, completing the rollout nine months ahead of schedule.

The retailer said 300 products in its Selfridges Selection private brand are now free of palm oil which has been replaced with alternatives derived from rapeseed, soybean, and sunflowers.

Palm oil has been linked to widespread deforestation, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia. Destruction of habitats to make way for palm oil plantations threatens hundreds of animal species including the orangutan.

Simon Forster, Selfridges’ managing director

Selfridges’ managing director Simon Forster said: “We’re committed to buying better to inspire change, and the removal of palm oil from our Selfridges Selection range is the latest demonstration of this approach,”

“We believe that until certified palm oil guarantees zero deforestation, our customers should be given the option to buy palm oil-free products. Our expectation is that all brands we work with are aware of and actively engaging with the issues surrounding palm oil and deforestation.”

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.