Cargill has announced that the palm oil products it supplies to its customers in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and/or originated from smallholder growers by 2015 (this excludes palm kernel oil products). This commitment will be extended across all Cargill’s oil and trading businesses to cover 100 percent of its palm oil products and all customers worldwide—including China and India—by 2020.
“Cargill is an active supporter of sustainable palm and has been a member of the RSPO since it was founded. We hope this commitment will encourage more participation across the supply chain and help RSPO palm oil become the mainstream”, said Paul Conway, vice chairman of Cargill. “This goal will help us meet the rising demand for sustainable palm oil products amongst manufacturers and retailers, while continuing to encourage palm oil producers to adopt more sustainable practices.”
Cargill already offers RSPO certified palm oil products to its customers. Its European, Malaysian, United States and Australian refineries have received RSPO certification. Its oil palm plantation at PT Hindoli in Sumatra, Indonesia has also been certified and smallholder farmers at this location became the first to be certified under the RSPO’s Smallholder Principles & Criteria in late 2010. The company also has its own policies in place for responsible palm production on its own plantations including commitments to not plant on high conservation value forests (HCVF); to not develop new plantations on deep peat land or land that would threaten biodiversity; and a strict no-burn policy for land preparation.
The RSPO Principles & Criteria define the practices for sustainable palm oil production covering the legal, economic, environmental and social requirements of producing sustainable palm oil. At the end of 2010, 70 percent of Cargill’s total crude palm oil was purchased from RSPO members and Cargill is encouraging its external suppliers to join RSPO and attain certification for all of their palm plantations.
Cargill is continuing to collaborate with the World Wildlife Fund-U.S. (WWF) to gauge the progress its palm oil suppliers in Indonesia are making in implementing the RSPO Principles & Criteria. The process, which began last year, is working with individual suppliers on key areas such as land permitting, and environmental and social practices.
”We remain very committed to working with WWF and all our suppliers to help find ways to implement more sustainable production practices”, continued Conway. “While this process has proved to be more complex and taken longer than everyone first envisioned, we believe this long-term initiative will support producers to meet the rising demand for more responsible palm oil.”
In partnership with Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Cargill is also working in Malaysia and Indonesia to help smallholders understand the RSPO criteria. FFI is also leading an environmental sustainability assessment of the company’s Malaysia smallholder supply chain. Additionally it is working with the RSPO and Control Union Certification—an RSPO approved certification body—to provide training to crude palm oil suppliers in Malaysia.