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Manufacturers urged to stamp commitment to sustainable palm oil with new RSPO trademark

By Andrew McDougall , 03-Jun-2011
Last updated on 03-Jun-2011 at 13:02 GMT

Producers of cosmetic and personal care products will now be able to clearly show their commitment to sustainable palm oil through the use of a new trademark released by The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Palm oil, palm kernel oil and their derivatives are present in about 70 per cent of cosmetic and personal care products and with global demand fuelling unsustainable growth of the palm industry over the past decade, the RSPO, which is a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil, hopes this new phase will transform the market.

“This is a milestone moment in the history of the RSPO and the palm oil industry at large. The trademark will soon make it possible for consumers to make a well-informed choice for products containing sustainable palm oil,” said RSPO Secretary General Darrel Webber.

Stimulate supply chain to up efforts

Webber is convinced that the trademark will stimulate all parties across the supply chain to step up their efforts.

“This would boost global demand which is important in view of the remarkable growth in the production of certified sustainable palm oil by growers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, West Africa, South America, etc,” he continued.

The growth in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia has seen farming and milling linked with rainforest destruction, pollution, human rights violations, as well as threats to endangered species such as the orangutan.

Consumer pressure building

This has lead to consumer pressure to build upon brands to use sustainable palm oil that has been produced in line with the rules of the RSPO.

“This progress stamps RSPO’s commitment and capacity towards its member organizations and the industry at large, not only in encouraging sustainable production of CSPO, but also bracing the marketplace on the demand side,” Webber added.

RSPO members will be able to use the trademark logo on-pack and in communication about products that contain palm-derived ingredients sourced in compliance with its standards.

Time to take the ‘responsible’ option

Belinda Howell, representing the Retailers' Palm Oil Group, who is also member of the Executive Board of the RSPO, commented that: “There is a growing awareness among consumers that palm oil is a key ingredient in their everyday products.”

“We therefore welcome the fact that consumers will now be able to make a conscious choice for products with palm oil that has been produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.”

Despite coming a long way since the RSPO was founded in 2004, its president Jan Kees Vis, responsible for sustainable sourcing development with Unilever said that with aroung nine per cent of all palm oil in the world being certified with the RSPO, there is still along way to go.

“This is the time to achieve a breakthrough in global demand for certified sustainable palm oil and the trademark will play a key role, as does the commitment by a growing number of companies to only use sustainable palm oil by the year 2015,” said Kees Vis.

The design of the trademark was unveiled in November 2010 at the 8th Roundtable Meeting of the RSPO in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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