The Philippines rings in 'world's first' certified coconut oil, thanks to BASF help

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

The Philippines rings in 'world's first' certified coconut oil, thanks to BASF help
After a three year stint, the German chemicals firm has succeeded in establishing the world's first certified production of dried coconut flesh or 'copra' to oil in the Philippines.

Producing cosmetic ingredients in a sustainable way has become a pressing issue for the beauty industry and companies have certainly felt the pressure to adopt greener strategies.

Coconut oil derivatives are used in personal care, and with over 15 billion, the Philippines is one of the leading global producers of coconuts a year, covering about 26 per cent of the country's land.

This particular project, partly financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, was established to process oil from the coconut flesh in a more sustainable way on the southern island of Mindanao.

Since 2011, BASF has been working alongside Cargill and GIZ to train over 1,000 farmers in good agricultural practices, to increase their yields in the long term.

"Together with our partners, we were able to show that it is possible to specifically promote the sustainable production of high-quality coconut oil and improve the living conditions of the coconut farmers. This success allows us to look to the future with optimism,​" says Harald Sauthoff, Vice President Global Procurement Natural Oils and Oleochemicals at BASF.

'World's first Rainforest Alliance certified copra'

As a result of the project, 300 small farmers from the region now produce the world's first Rainforest Alliance certified copra meeting the standards of the SAN.

The recognized certification system will now help them to improve social and environmental standards and increase their revenues as BASF and Cargill pay a premium for high quality and certified copra. 

Their members can now access micro-credit facilities instead of having to rely on pre-financing by middlemen. It allows them to improve their profit margin by selling directly to the mill. Farmers who are participating in all of these joint activities are able to increase their income by at least 15 per cent.

Even beyond the project in Mindanao, the partners say this is only the start of a commitment to further promote the production of sustainable certified coconut oil on a regional scale.

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