A quarter of European palm oil not RSPO certified

18 February 2019

More than 25% of palm oil imported into Europe is still not certified as sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), according to a report.

IDH, a sustainability NGO, said in its report Choosing Sustainable Palm Oil that only 74% of palm oil imported for food into Europe was RSPO-certified.

This means Europe has a lot of work to do to achieve the target set by the RSPO – that it should be importing 100% sustainable palm oil by 2020.

IDH said its report highlighted that there is a large gap to be filled within a short timeframe.

The report found that 99% of palm oil entering Europe was now traceable to mill level and that 84% of all palm oil is covered by company sustainability policies that focus on ‘no deforestation, no peatland and no exploitation’.

“To reach the 2020 target, we urgently need to dial up the demand for sustainable palm oil throughout the value chain,” said IDH.

“Thus, we call on private sector, governments, and NGOs to step up their action to help us achieve this goal.”

As the second largest global importer of palm oil, Europe has an important role to play by ensuring 100% of the palm oil in the products it manufactures and uses is certified sustainable, said IDH.

The report said demand for the world’s most versatile vegetable oil was growing.

“With this economic growth comes the increased risk of unsustainable production processes demolishing tropical forests and peatland, and unethical practices threatening livelihoods of smallholders and surrounding communities,” it said.

According to the report the key to making the urgent leap forward necessary to reach the RSPO target is the sustainable sourcing commitment of brands and retailers.  

“It is about buying sustainable palm oil. Only then we can eliminate the market for a product that does not conform to legal, economically viable, environmentally conscious and socially beneficial standards,” said the report.

It said governments needed to use public procurement to support companies in making this shift and more governments needed to sign the Amsterdam Declaration in Support of a Fully Sustainable Palm Oil Supply Chain by 2020.

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