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What exactly is a sustainable ingredient?

What exactly is a sustainable ingredient?

Nowadays, everything is "sustainable", but how can you tell if an ingredient is really worthy of the title, if it ticks all the boxes?

Published in May 2017

A sustainable ingredient is produced and transported in a way that limits its contribution to global warming, which threatens our planet. Likewise, this ingredient must also protect biodiversity and ecosystems, which implies that it respects natural resources and the living world. Finally, an ingredient is only sustainable if it also ensures fair and sufficient compensation, as well as decent working conditions.

Owing to its bad reputation and omnipresence in the food industry, palm oil (extracted from palm kernels) does not seem like the most likley candidate for the "sustainable ingredient" title. However, there exists a sustainable kind of palm oil, certified as such and harvested in plantations that are respectful to both the environment and the workers. If you look closely, you'll find it in lots of products on shelves and in plates already: spreads, brioche, cookies, breaded food...

How to support sustainable palm oil? How to support sustainable palm oil?

All fish are not born equal when it comes to sustainability. To lay claim to this title, they must come from specific areas, in order to curb overfishing and the depletion of fish stocks. Their habitat must also preserved by avoiding the use of fishing methods destructing the seabed. Finally, sustainable fish cannot belong to any endangered species, a constantly updated list. Ecolabels can help triangulate these constraints.

How to choose sustainable fish? How to choose sustainable fish?

These numerous criteria are just the beginning, there's a lot to add to the list! Yet it is worth the trouble, as these ingredients' environmental footprint has a direct influence on our foodprint, which should be positive from farm to fork.

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