IS IT POSSIBLE TO PRODUCE RESPONSIBLE PALM OIL?

Yes. Sustainable sourcing and a transparent supply chains and  are quickly becoming a reality.

Responsible manufacturers use palm oil that has been certified sustainable, meaning it has been produced in a way that complies with environmental and societal criteria. There are several palm oil certification standards currently in use. Two common standards are the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO).

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

RSPO was developed by an international team of palm oil producers, traders, investors and nonprofits in 2004. The first shipments of RSPO-certified palm oil were produced in Malaysia and became available in 2008. As of January 2019, 19 percent of the global palm oil supply (or 13.47 million tons) is RSPO certified.

To become RSPO certified, growers must meet a set of environmental and social criteria designed to minimize negative impacts of palm oil production. These includes agreeing not to clear primary forests or areas of significant biodiversity, reducing pesticide use and treating workers according to local and international labor standards.

RSPO has been praised for promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil. It has helped educate millions about the sustainability of this important crop. RSPO has also been criticized, especially by environmental nonprofits who feel the standards don’t do enough to protect pristine forests or palm oil laborers. Other certifications, such as MSPO, Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC)  have emerged to address additional concerns.

Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

Malaysia, which produces nearly half of the world’s RSPO-certified palm oil, developed its own certification build upon RSPO’s foundation and meet local needs. The MSPO certification program was developed by the Malaysian government with input from an international team of academic and environmental stakeholders. It’s not aimed at competing with other certification methods, but rather supporting Malaysia’s people, environment and wildlife.

MSPO certification covers all aspects of palm oil production, from the field to the final product. The standards affirm the country’s commitment to the planet, its people and responsible palm oil production.

  • This nationwide plan helps Malaysia conserve its rainforests.  In 1992, at the Rio Earth Summit, Malaysia pledged to keep at least 50 percent of its land under forest cover. It has kept that promise. A Guardian article on MSPO praised the program’s ability to “create a nationwide conservation landscape which could see the protection of tigers in Peninsular Malaysia, the elephants of Sabah and the orangutans of Sarawak in safe habitats.”
  • This nationwide program also supports Malaysia’s independent oil palm farmers, who found other certification standards onerous. In Malaysia 40 percent of palm-planted lands are tended by these family famers (called smallholders). Policies and financial assistance are in place to help smallholders obtain certification and compete fairly in the global palm oil market.

The MSPO program was launched in 2015 and already has certified more than 3,643,000 hectares as of January 2, 2020, approximately 62 percent of Malaysia’s palm-planted land. Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification became mandatory as of 2020, and the country is working toward 100% compliance.

 Malaysian Palm Oil Council CEO Dr. Kalyana Sundram explains, “MSPO certification is yet another strong tactic that Malaysia is using to lead the world by example,” said. “We are intentionally paving the way for other countries who rely on the authenticity of their products, such as Italy with its olive oil, to ensure the trade and consumers that their products are pure and responsibly produced.”

Consumers can help by encouraging manufacturers to use certified sustainable palm oil. Find certification seals on product labels or on manufacturers’ corporate responsibility websites.

Yes. Sustainable sourcing and a transparent supply chains and  are quickly becoming a reality.

Responsible manufacturers use palm oil that has been certified sustainable, meaning it has been produced in a way that complies with environmental and societal criteria. There are several palm oil certification standards currently in use. Two common standards are the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO).

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

RSPO was developed by an international team of palm oil producers, traders, investors and nonprofits in 2004. The first shipments of RSPO-certified palm oil were produced in Malaysia and became available in 2008. As of January 2019, 19 percent of the global palm oil supply (or 13.47 million tons) is RSPO certified.

To become RSPO certified, growers must meet a set of environmental and social criteria designed to minimize negative impacts of palm oil production. These includes agreeing not to clear primary forests or areas of significant biodiversity, reducing pesticide use and treating workers according to local and international labor standards.

RSPO has been praised for promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil. It has helped educate millions about the sustainability of this important crop. RSPO has also been criticized, especially by environmental nonprofits who feel the standards don’t do enough to protect pristine forests or palm oil laborers. Other certifications, such as MSPO, Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC)  have emerged to address additional concerns.

Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

Malaysia, which produces nearly half of the world’s RSPO-certified palm oil, developed its own certification build upon RSPO’s foundation and meet local needs. The MSPO certification program was developed by the Malaysian government with input from an international team of academic and environmental stakeholders. It’s not aimed at competing with other certification methods, but rather supporting Malaysia’s people, environment and wildlife.

MSPO certification covers all aspects of palm oil production, from the field to the final product. The standards affirm the country’s commitment to the planet, its people and responsible palm oil production.

  • This nationwide plan helps Malaysia conserve its rainforests.  In 1992, at the Rio Earth Summit, Malaysia pledged to keep at least 50 percent of its land under forest cover. It has kept that promise. A Guardian article on MSPO praised the program’s ability to “create a nationwide conservation landscape which could see the protection of tigers in Peninsular Malaysia, the elephants of Sabah and the orangutans of Sarawak in safe habitats.”
  • This nationwide program also supports Malaysia’s independent oil palm farmers, who found other certification standards onerous. In Malaysia 40 percent of palm-planted lands are tended by these family famers (called smallholders). Policies and financial assistance are in place to help smallholders obtain certification and compete fairly in the global palm oil market.

The MSPO program was launched in 2015 and already has certified more than 940,000 hectares as of December 21, 2018, approximately 25 percent of Malaysia’s palm-planted land.

All Malaysia oil palm plantations must be certified by the end of 2019. Malaysian Palm Oil Council CEO Dr. Kalyana Sundram explains, “MSPO certification is yet another strong tactic that Malaysia is using to lead the world by example,” said. “We are intentionally paving the way for other countries who rely on the authenticity of their products, such as Italy with its olive oil, to ensure the trade and consumers that their products are pure and responsibly produced.”

Consumers can help by encouraging manufacturers to use certified sustainable palm oil. Find certification seals on product labels or on manufacturers’ corporate responsibility websites.