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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL

Ancient Wisdom and AWGifts Europe are committed to sustainability in the giftware and cosmetic market. We pride ourselves in our ethical manufacturer and importer status. Dealing only with members of RSPO and POIG, we want to raise awareness of good palm oil among our customers and consumers so that they can make more informed purchase choices.

Palm oil, found in 70% of food and cosmetic products, has been making headlines in recent years, often referred to negatively because of its links to deforestation and human right violations.  The increased interest in the use and origin of palm oil has put pressure on retailers to research the sources of this ingredient and make sure they are using only sustainable palm oil. Many consumers started boycotting the use of palm oil altogether, however this is not a solution as switching to alternatives could actually lead to more problems linked with deforestation.

WHERE PALM OIL COMES FROM

Palm oil is derived from the Oil Palm Tree, which grows primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia; in addition to Africa and Latin America – although the latter two areas are smaller but rapidly growing with suppliers. Following Images Source: Palm Oil Production Locations

Image Source: Palm Oil Production Locations
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Being one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils in the world, palm oil is versatile, easy to process and yields 4 – 10 times more oil per hectare of land than other crops such as sunflower, rapeseed, soybean and coconut.

At present 80% of palm oil in the global supply chain comes from conventional (non-certified) production that is linked with deforestation and breach in workers’ rights etc.

The main sustainable palm oil certifying body, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), supplies 19% of sustainable palm globally and is a largest multi-stakeholder initiative with a vision to transform the markets by making sustainable palm oil the norm. The well-recognised certification body is more and more recognised by consumers through RSPO labels indicating the use of sustainable palm or palm kernel oils in the product.

Building on top of RSPO work, organisations such as Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) are continuously working towards ensuring the implementation of the higher standards for sustainable palm oil production through collaboration among NGO’s, leading companies and suppliers.

Thus, palm oil is good as long as it is sustainable palm oil.

MORE ABOUT RSPO

RSPO stands for the ‘Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’, and it describes itself as “a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil” with a vision to “transform the markets by making sustainable palm oil the norm”.

Through RSPO standardised sustainable palm oil supply chain systems, customers can make informed choices about their product purchases. Highest Standards of Sustainable Palm oil production are Identity Preserved and Segregated, while others Mass Balance or Book & Claim are used when the sourcing is not yet available. Thus, customers can make an informed decision about the level of sustainability through an on-product label.

Image Source: Sustainablepalmoil.org

SUPPLY CHAIN SYSTEMS: WHAT IT MEANS

Palm oil or palm oil derivatives certified by the RSPO can be purchased through four supply chain systems. Each of these systems comes with its own advantages, requirements and pre-approved consumer claims. These four systems ensure that market claims about the production and use of sustainable palm oil remain transparent and accurate.

1) “IDENTITY PRESERVED (IP)”:

Means that palm oil grown sustainably is strictly segregated from non-sustainable oil along the entire supply chain. The sustainable palm oil is at no time mixed with non-sustainable palm oil; the produce is 100 per cent traceable back to one palm oil mill.

2) “SEGREGATED”:

Similar to ‘IP’, this means that certified palm oil is kept apart throughout the supply chain; but for a product to be certified ‘Segregated’ it can come from a mixture of several certified sustainable palm oil mills – as opposed to just one source for ‘IP’. It cannot be traced back to its original plantation/mill.

3) "MASS BALANCE (MB)":

Means that certified palm oil is mixed in with conventional palm oil but monitored administratively so that claimed volumes are matched.

4) "BOOK & CLAIM (GREENPALM)":

A trade-able certificate is issued for the producers who are certified, and this is then sold. This means that the sustainable palm oil (the physical product), and the sustainability certificates are traded separately and that there is no direct transparency or traceability.

Source: Stephenson Personal Care