Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined by the European Commision as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society". Food manufacturers are at the crossroads between the environment and consumers, and as such have a special role to fulfill to achieve a positive impact.
IMACE, representing European margarine manufacturers, is encouraging and accompanying its Members in the responsible and sustainable conduct of their business, according to CSR principles. Self-regulation coordinated by IMACE led to successful results in food quality and nutrition, as well as responsible and reliable consumer communication.
IMACE's commitment to nutrition: an optimal fat quality through self-regulation and innovation
Retail vegetable fat spreads and margarines used as ingredients in food products have never been lower in fat, saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids than they are today. Business-to-business (B2B) manufacturers have conducted these major improvements over the last decade despite the additional challenges of reformulating while maintaining technical performances of the products. Innovation played a key role in this regard.
These positive results are in line with the constant adaptability of margarine products to scientific evidence on nutrition and to public health policies. Since 1995, margarine manufacturers adopted self-regulation to guide their efforts towards nutritional improvements with the support of IMACE.
The margarine industry’s contribution to better nutrients' intake was recognised and praised by official agencies such as EFSA and WHO.
- On the detailed nutritional improvements of margarine products, please read our Reformulation Brochure.
- On the self-regulatory nutritional commitment of margarine manufacturers, please read the IMACE Code of Practice on Trans Fatty Acid
IMACE's commitment to consumer communication: best practices on nutrition claims and information on the role of fats in the diet
Before the European Union adopted in 2006 the Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods, IMACE established in 2003 a Code of Practice on Nutrition Claims. IMACE ensured best practices and harmonised conditions of use of nutrition claims relevant to margarines and vegetable fat spreads.
One of IMACE's mission is also to help advance knowledge and understanding on the role of fats in the diet. Objective information on fatty acids are circulated by IMACE through a dedicated webpage and a specific brochure made together with FEDIOL, the EU vegetable oil and proteinmeal industry federation.
IMACE's commitment to sustainability: limited impact on the environment and responsible sourcing of raw materials
As a vegetable-based product, margarine has a limited impact on the environment. A study published in 2010 in the International Journal of Lifecycle Analysis came to that conclusion after assessing the environmental impact of 7 products across 3 European countries.
IMACE is Member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a multi-stakeholder initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable production of palm oil worldwide. IMACE Member Companies and Associations showed great commitment to promoting and using sustainable palm oil. In the Netherlands and in Belgium, they even took the lead in respectively launching, together with other sectors, the Dutch Taskforce and the Belgian Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil.
In general, IMACE Member Companies are supporting sustainability policies and sometimes even prove to be leaders in their field. For example, Aigremont, a Belgian margarine manufacturer, owns the first factory generating green energy and being thus energetically neutral. Another example is Unilever who launched in 2010 its Sustainable Living Plan with the objective to halve the environmental impact of its products by 2020.