Palm Oil Industry Comes Together in Groundbreaking Sustainability Initiative
Singapore – The world’s largest Palm Oil players have taken a significant step forward in sustainability, by committing to the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto which sets new and higher standards for growers, traders, end users and other stakeholders. The Manifesto demands renewed commitment to sustainable production right across the supply chain and is an important step the industry is taking to set the direction for sustainable agriculture.
The manifesto commits its signatories to no deforestation, creating traceable and transparent supply chains, and protecting peat areas, while ensuring economic and social benefits for the local people and communities where oil palm is grown. These standards are higher than, and in addition to, those set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), of which all signatories are members.
Five oil palm growers – who are the largest in the industry, together producing more than 9% of the world’s Palm Oil – were the first to sign the manifesto. They are Sime Darby Plantation , IOI Corporation Berhad, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad, Musim Mas Group and Asian Agri. The other signatories also include the world’s largest buyers.
These signatories, along with global Palm Oil trader, Wilmar International, will also be funding research to define what constitutes a High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest and to establish HCS thresholds that take into account environmental, socio-economic and political factors in developing and emerging economies.
Unlike High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, which are areas of critical importance in terms of ecological, social or cultural value, HCS needs further study to establish appropriate thresholds and values that will not stifle the economic development of nations while ensuring that environmental concerns are addressed. The research will establish these, determining assessment methods and thresholds for HCS forests, which will be excluded from future oil palm Plantation development.
While the signatories include many of the industry’s key players, the manifesto is an open invitation to all stakeholders in the Palm Oil value chain, including civil society and environmental groups, to sign up and work together to increase momentum in the drive towards increased sustainability.
“This Manifesto aims to raise the bar on sustainability standards and set new benchmarks in the agricultural sector. This is part of our commitment to go beyond the stringent RSPO standards and accelerate positive impacts for our industry”, said Executive Chairman of Musim Mas Group.
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Mohd Bakke Salleh, President and Group Chief Executive of Sime Darby Bhd said that “while many of these growers have been consistently improving their sustainability performance over the last five years, the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto puts their commitment in writing and calls on the rest of the industry to follow their lead”.
The Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto aims to build upon the signatories’ existing commitments to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO’s Principles and Criteria have established the foundation for the growing, production, processing and trading of sustainable Palm Oil . It is currently the only sustainability standard available in the global edible oil industry, making Palm Oil the only edible oil produced on a large scale that adheres to stringent social and environmental standards.
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- More information on the HCS study will be released further this month.
- Please click here for the Manifesto.
Background on Palm Oil
Oil palm is the world’s most efficient oil seed crop (one hectare of oil palm produces between 4-6 times more oil per hectare than the next most efficient crop) and it is essential to fulfil the global demand for healthy vegetable oil. With increasing wealth and changing dietary requirements fuelled by economic growth in countries like China and India, the need for efficiently produced oil is critical.
In 2012, Palm Oil accounted for 32 per cent of global oils and fats produced. However, oil palm accounted for only 5.5 per cent of global land use for oilseed cultivation. As a comparison, soyabean accounted for 40.1 per cent of global land use for oilseed cultivation, but only 22.4 per cent of global oils and fats produced. Oil palm’s land use is even smaller, at less than one per cent, when compared against the total land used for agriculture globally.
In 2012, a total of 53.1 million tonnes of Palm Oil were produced, of which 8.2 million tonnes were Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) . Demand however continued to fall far short of supply at around 3.5 million tonnes.