RSPO report calls for sustainable palm oil procurement

10 January 2011
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10 January 2011 | Angeline Albert  

Rapid growth in the production of sustainable palm oil must be met with increased demand from buyers, an industry group has said.

The Roundtable onSustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a not-for-profit sustainable palm oil certification body, reported a strong rise in the production and use of RSPO-certified oil in 2010, with supply figures doubling compared with 2009.

The combined production capacity of certified oil palm plantations grew strongly in 2010, from 1.4 million tonnes in January to 3.4 million tonnes in December.

The volume of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil on the market swelled from 1.3 million tonnes in 2009 to 2.3 million tonnes last year. Meanwhile, sales of sustainable palm oil more than tripled from 0.4 million tonnes in 2009 to 1.3 million tonnes in 2010.

Despite a delay in market uptake in 2009, more than half (56 per cent) of the total certified palm oil in the market was purchased in 2010.

Jan Kees Vis, president of the RSPO’s executive board said: “In 2011 market uptake will need to grow even faster in order to keep up with rapidly growing production.”

Many companies have pledged to switch to RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil fully by 2015, Vis said. But until then, it will also be important that users of palm oil match a rising supply with rising market demand.

The RSPO said sustainably operating palm growers have been certified at a rapid rate, with 7.5 per cent of global palm oil production covered just two years after certification began.

The number of RSPO members, which includes suppliers, grew to more than 500 companies and organisations last year and some 81 palm oil mills and 113 facilities in the palm product supply chain are now fully certified.

Environmental lobby groups have campaigned against unsustainable production of palm oil – which is used in thousands of consumer products – because the development of plantations threatens rainforests.

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