Production and sales of palm oil certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) reached record volume in 2011, reports a new analysis published by the multistakeholder body.
Production of “certified sustainable palm oil” (CSPO) rose from 1.4 million metric tons in 2009 to 4.8 million tons in 2011, while sales climbed from 343,857 tons to 2.5 million tons.
RSPO also reported an increase in membership.
“While in 2008, RSPO could count 17 certified mills in just two countries (Malaysia and Papua New Guinea), today there are 29 grower companies with 135 certified mills in six countries: Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands,” the RSPO said in a statement.
The group added that premiums to RSPO producers amounted to $21.5 million since the launch of the initiative.
“We hope that the growers have found this valuable in empowering their transformation to sustainable cultivation practices,” said Darrel Webber, Secretary General of the RSPO.
The RSPO is made up of palm oil producers, refiners, traders, and buyers, as well as NGOs, governments, and retailers. The body sets basic social and environmental criteria for palm oil production, including waste treatment and conservation of wildlife-rich forest in concession areas. Supporters say the RSPO offers a greener path forward for the palm oil industry, which has been critized for driving deforestation and social conflict in some areas. Critics argue that standards and oversight need to be strengthened to make the initiative effective at safeguarding biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and protecting local land rights.