10 November 2010 | Peter Searle
The Netherlands is to become the first nation to use palm oil from only sustainable sources, a Dutch task force has said.
The pledge, to be fulfilled by the end of 2015, will see that all palm oil used in manufacturing Dutch consumer products will be from sources that have been certified by not-for-profit group the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
The announcement came from the Dutch Task Force on Sustainable Palm Oil, a group composed of Dutch-based businesses involved in palm oil refining, processing and retail.
Frans Claassen, director of the Dutch Product Board for Margarine, Fats and Oils which chairs the task force in the country, said that over the next few years they would work very hard to ensure that all palm oil used in the Netherlands will be sustainable by the end of 2015.
The Netherlands is one of the largest importers of palm oil in the EU, accounting for 4 per cent of worldwide production. However, only the oil that is retained for domestic use, about a quarter of their imports, will be subject to this agreement. It does not apply to the majority of palm oil that is imported and then re-exported to the rest of Europe.
The announcement follows earlier statements by Nestlé and Unilever who said they would only be using palm oil from RSPO certified sources by the end of 2015.
The global demand for palm oil has been increasing as a result of its use in food, cosmetics and in the development of biofuels. In 2009, 46.6 million tons of palm oil was produced with only 3.3 million tons coming from sustainable sources.
Unsustainable palm oil has been linked to the destruction of rainforests and peatlands contributing to the increase of greenhouse gases, campaigner said. RSPO has been lobbying for an increase in sustainable palm oil practices since 2001, alongside Greenpeace.