RSPO: GreenPalm Appeals To American Bakers

Hull / UK. (rspo) GreenPalm will appeal to US baking companies to help tackle rainforest destruction and other environmental problems by supporting sustainable palm oil production. GreenPalm, the certificate trading program that supports palm oil producers working responsibly, will issue the appeal at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE 2010) in Las Vegas (Nevada) in this September.

The use of palm oil in the USA has tripled in the past decade, particularly in the baking industry where it is sometimes preferred as a healthier, trans-fat-free alternative to traditional bakery fats. Fast-growing American demand for palm oil has also been driven by its low cost when compared with other edible oils such as soy, corn oil and canola, and it is now used in one in every two supermarket products, from candy and cookies to soap and cosmetics.

However, its global popularity has fuelled rapid expansion of palm oil plantations, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia, and the industry has been linked with environmental issues including greenhouse gas emissions and rainforest destruction, with the associated removal of habitats of endangered species such as the orangutan. American businesses are under increasing pressure from environmental groups and consumers to support palm oil producers who are working in line with rules set out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

GreenPalm works by enabling manufacturers to pay a premium direct to RSPO-certified palm oil producers, supporting their efforts and giving other producers an incentive to work sustainably. GreenPalm membership in the US has grown rapidly in 2010 with support from leading food brands such as Kellogg´s, Mars and Nestle, as well as household and personal care brands including Seventh Generation and Unilever.

GreenPalm General Manager Bob Norman says: «GreenPalm is the fastest, simplest and most effective way to show support for positive change in the palm oil industry. The pressure is now on for manufacturers to use their buying power to help tackle the urgent problems associated with palm oil, by making it commercially worthwhile for producers to use sustainable and ethical methods. Consumers are increasingly aware of what´s in their food, where it comes from and how it was made, and many want to make purchasing choices based on the companies that are responsible players in a global marketplace».

Many businesses have pledged to use only sustainable palm oil, but are unable to do so immediately. This is because RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil must be kept segregated at each stage of the supply chain to maintain its integrity, and each party in the chain must be audited and approved as a member of the RSPO. This can be costly and complex, particularly for interwoven global supply chains, and, for many businesses, commercially unviable.

GreenPalm bypasses the supply chain by paying the premium that sustainable palm oil commands direct to the producer, via the trading of one certificate for each metric tonne of palm oil that has been sustainable produced. The buyer can then claim to be supporting sustainable palm oil production and the producer is rewarded for the cost and effort associated with RSPO membership and ethical production methods.

In the two years since the first GreenPalm trade, more than 900’000 certificates have been traded, earning certified sustainable palm oil producers over eight million USD in premiums for their efforts. Norman adds: «Every time a business buys a GreenPalm certificate, they have helped more sustainable palm oil come into being, and solved a small part of the problem. If someone in the USA adopts a tiger or an ape, they don´t receive the actual animal in the mail. What they do receive is the knowledge that they have helped fund a better chance of survival for animals of that kind. As more make that commitment, the problems start to be solved. That´s the idea behind GreenPalm».

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