Palm oil production passes 5 million tonne mark

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainable palm oil Palm oil

RSPO-certified palm oil production facilities produced their five millionth tonne of certified sustainable palm oil earlier this month, with nine percent of world production now certified.

Certificate traders Green Palm reported this week that palm oil certified by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) now accounts for nine per cent of global supply, marking another step forward for the sector blamed for widespread deforestation.

The UK-based company blogged about the latest developments in palm oil production on its company website this week.

It stated that thanks to an ever increasing number of certified production units, the latest million tonnes were added to the total tally in just three months.

Ten million tonnes expected by end of year

In comparison, it took one full year to pass the first million tonnes mile stone in August 2009, and Green Palm now predicts that the ten million tonnes mark is in sight for the end of this year, especially with sales of sustainable palm oil continuing to increase as well.

And March this year proved to be a record month as over 269,000 tonnes of sustainable palm oil was sold by RSPO-certified mills.

An estimated 11,500 tonnes of sustainable palm oil currently leave RSPO-certified oil mills every day.

And about 54 per cent of the world's current RSPO-certified palm oil production capacity is in Malaysia, according to Green Palm.

Indonesia is second, with about 35 per cent of the current global supply, and Papua New Guinea and Colombia provide the remaining 10 and 1 per cent respectively.

Palm kernel oil more complex

Other than palm oil, certified mills also collect palm kernels for further processing. Green Palm states that at present, certified production units harvest close to 1 million tonnes of palm kernels annually, out of which about 450,000 tonnes of RSPO-certified sustainable palm kernel oil and derivatives will be processed.

Earlier this month, Green Palm’s business development executive, Simon Chrismas told that sustainable sourcing is particularly complex for the cosmetic and personal industry due to the complexity of many derivatives and confusion surrounding the sourcing of lauric acid-based ingredients, which can be derived from either coconut or palm oil.

The widespread use within cosmetics and personal care products of palm kernel oil, which is not yet available in a certified sustainable form, adds another layer of complexity to the sourcing issue.

“With the palm kernel oil demand market being a lot smaller than palm oil, the complex and costly nature of applying a fully segregated supply chain is not commercially viable,” ​said Chrismas.

In order to stimulate the market and create the supply chains required, support needs to be channeled through RSPO-endorsed systems to where the process begins, he said. “If end product manufacturers who are using palm kernel support producers, the market begins to switch itself and ultimately the physical supply chain begins to flow.”

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