RSPO has just published a report outlining the social, economic and environmental progress made as a result of its work and the work of its members. RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) now accounts for 5% of total global vegetable oil production – but the organisation acknowledges there is still some way to go. Together, palm oil and palm kernel oil account for about 40% of total vegetable oil production.
However, market uptake for CSPO is growing rapidly, which could help reassure producers and market commentators who had been worried about demand for certified oil.
“Sales of physical CSPO have grown by almost 65 per cent during the first two quarters of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013,” the organisation noted. “This is the first time that CSPO sales have grown faster than supply, which increased by 29 per cent over the first two quarters of 2014 compared with the same period last year.”
Now, 20% of certified oil is physically taken up by users, while uptake of CSPO through both physical and GreenPalm certificate trading reached 51% last year. (See factbox for a primer on the different forms of certification.)
“To ensure that demand matches supply, 134 consumer goods manufacturers have committed to 100% use of CSPO by 2015,” the report said. “Such a commitment will tremendously enhance uptake of sustainable palm oil.”
In addition to manufacturers’ commitments, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany have pledged to source all palm oil from sustainable sources by the end of next year, while the UK said in 2012 it would ‘work towards’ 100% sustainable palm oil by 2015.
The RSPO has said it intends to publish an updated impact report every two years. The current report is available online here.
Decoding sustainable palm oil claims
Segregated: If you want to use the RSPO trademark and claim ‘This product contains certified sustainable palm oil’, you must use palm oil that has been segregated throughout the supply chain and is traceable directly back to its RSPO-certified source.
Mass balance: This combines some segregated RSPO certified oil and some standard oil, and allows users to use the RSPO trademark (‘Mixed’) and claim: ‘Contributes to the production of certified sustainable palm oil’.
GreenPalm (book and claim): Buyers of GreenPalm certificates are guaranteed that a tonnage of palm oil/derivatives equivalent to the tonnage they use has been produced from RSPO-certified plantations. While you can't guarantee the actual oil you are buying is sustainable, you know the amount you use has been produced sustainably. Participants can use the GreenPalm logo and claim: ‘Supports the production of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil’.