How palm oil is getting more sustainable
- Danielle Morley, European director of outreach and engagement at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) told Food Ingredients First the palm oil industry is moving towards more sustainable efforts.
- According to the RSPO, 40 growers have phased out the highly poisonous herbicide paraquat. At least 33 either are banning or have phased out pesticides deemed by the World Health Organization to be extremely hazardous or highly hazardous.
- Currently, 51% of RSPO-certified palm oil arrives from Indonesia. Of the rest, 42% comes from Malaysia, 5% from Papua New Guinea, 1% from Brazil and 1% from Colombia.
Morley said the sustainable palm oil market is driven by the various use of the product in numerous recipes, thanks to its smooth and creamy texture and lack of smell.
The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the equivalent of 300 football fields of rain forest are cleared hourly to enable palm grove plantings. This puts the survival of species like the orangutan in danger. Some reports say almost 90% of the orangutan's habitat has been destroyed by palm oil plantation developers.
Many manufacturers serving the U.S. market have made the change to more sustainability. Last year, Mondelez International said that it would not partner with palm oil suppliers who use deforestation practices. PepsiCo pledged to intervene when suppliers violated labor practices. And manufacturers including Mars, General Mills, Post, Danone and Unilever made commitments to sustainability and fair labor years before.
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