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First half of 2014 brings record sales of RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil

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By Anna Bonar+

Last updated on 18-Aug-2014 at 14:23 GMT2014-08-18T14:23:36Z

"Oil palms produce the greatest amount of vegetable oil per hectare of land (4-10 times more compared to other vegetable oils),” said Stefano Savi, communications director at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

Demand for the sustainable oil is rising faster than supply for the first time as total sales of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) reach more than 2.4 million metric tonnes (MT).

Total CSPO sales grew by 48.8% reaching 2,478,438 MT while the CSPO production stood at 5,276,064 MT at the end of June 2014.

The current CSPO production is still higher than the amount that is bought by the market, leading to certified producers not to be able to be rewarded for their efforts.

“For example, in 2013 only 51,7 per cent of CSPO was sold as such. Now, we already see the overall uptake of 47% in the first half of 2014, six points higher than around the same time last year (41%), however, the gap still remains,” said Stefano Savi, communications director at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

RSPO is an organization established to promote the growth and use of CSPO. Its objective was to convert 100% of the market to sustainable palm oil. It believed that switching the production to sustainable palm oil would lead to less deforestation.

“By eliminating palm oil from the equation, demand would shift to other vegetable oils. It will lead to more deforestation because compared to other crops, like soy bean, sunflower or rapeseed, oil palms produce the greatest amount of vegetable oil per hectare of land (4-10 times more),” Savi told Food Navigator.

Becoming RSPO certified

For oil to be RSPO certified its producer has to abide by RSPO environmental and social principles.

“The RSPO Principles and Criteria were first created in 2007 and revised in 2013. They aim to ensure that the fundamental rights of previous land owners, local communities, plantation workers, small farmers and their families are respected and fully taken into account, that no new primary forests or high conservation value areas have been cleared for palm oil production since November 2005,” said Savi.

RSPO also banned the use of land with any past or present disputes as well as the use of forced labour. In addition companies were required to implement policies countering corruption and implement human rights policy in order to become RSPO certified.

As for 2014, Europe represented the major CSPO buyer worldwide.

“Europe has been a leading market in CSPO purchases for a while although we also see some growth in new markets, namely US, Australia, China, which confirms a rising global industry trend towards 100% sustainable palm oil,” said Danielle Morley, RSPO European director of outreach and engagement.

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RSPO user members failing their producer counterparts

This should be great news but its not when you consider the numbers. Total CSPO production of over 5 million tons but total sold as CSPO is still under 50%.

From that 50% sold as CSPO, current sales of Greenpalm certificates suggests that actual physical sustainable produced palm oil sales is only half of that. Which means a paltry 1.2 million tons of palm oil was sold as certified sustainable.

Where are the RSPO user members? The brands and manufacturers? Why would any of the grower members continue to produce more certified product when their own associates won't support them?

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Posted by Robert Hii
18 August 2014 | 17h172014-08-18T17:17:35Z

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