DEMAND IS growing for sustainable oil but many companies still aren't doing their bit.
Demand for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is outstripping supply for the first time. New data from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) also shows that the gap between sustainable and unsustainable oil is narrowing. However, it’s a big gap to bridge.
In the first half of this year supply of CSPO, including GreenPalm certificates, was a shade under 5.3m tonnes – up 29% on the previous year (see table). In turn, sales almost hit 2.5m tonnes, representing a 48.8% increase. This is good news, says the RSPO secretary general, Darrel Webber, but the fact remains that production is still higher than purchase levels. It’s also worth considering that the 11.1m tonnes of sustainable palm oil produced per year represents under a fifth of the overall market. At its recent roundtable event in London, the RSPO called on every part of the supply chain to drive sales to the ultimate goal of 100% CSPO.
Europe has been ahead of the game when it comes to procurement of sustainable palm oil, but US companies including Mondelez, General Mills and Kellogg have all recently made commitments on sustainable sourcing. In its 2013 palm oil scorecard, the WWF included US companies for the first time. The NGO’s palm oil expert, Adam Harrison, noted the “gratifying progress by many companies” but admitted that demand for CSPO is “lagging significantly behind supplies – and from our scorecard we can see which companies are not taking the action they should to change that”.