Wednesday, May 13, 2009

RETAILERS STILL SHUN SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL

Despite a number of high-profile commitments to increase the use of sustainable palm oil, only one per cent of the sustainably certified palm oil available on the market today has been bought, according to figures released today by the WWF.

Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) has been available since November 2008 and provides assurance that tropical forests have not been cleared during its production. But many retailers are shunning palm oil from sustainably certified plantations as it is up to EUR60 a tonne more expensive - a premium of over 10 per cent on uncertified palm oil.

In a bid to boost demand for certified palm oil, WWF announced today that it will assess the world's major users of palm oil over the next six months and publish a Palm Oil Buyer's Scorecard highlighting those companies that support sustainable palm oil and exposing those that have not fulfilled their commitments to source the oil from environmentally sustainable plantations.

Rodney Taylor, director of WWF International's Forests Programme, said that to date only 15,000 of the 1.3 million tonnes of certified sustainable palm oil available has been sold.

"This sluggish demand from palm oil buyers, such as supermarkets, food and cosmetic manufacturers, could undermine the success of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and threatens the remaining natural tropical forests of Southeast Asia, as well as other forests where oil palm is set to expand, such as the Amazon," he said


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UPDATE (another report states) Only 2% of the the worlds palm oil is certified by the RSPO as sustainable, estimated to be 4% by the end of 2009. It may not be possible to find a supplier for handmade products this early.