A look at why coconut is trumping palm oil in the Philippines

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

A look at why coconut is trumping palm oil in the Philippines

Related tags Coconut oil Coconut

Despite the obvious sustainable benefits of coconut oil over palm, a politician has accused the Philippines government that the latter should be given an equal footing as coconut shows 'little growth' due to pests and calamities.

Coconut oil is derived from the kernel of the coconut (Cocos Nucifera) unlike palm oil which is extracted from the pulp of the fruit.

It is regarded as a more renewable resource, particularly for cosmetics formulations as it can be grown again, unlike other fossil and mineral raw materials.

Coconut oil derivatives are increasingly being 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.

Despite these obvious benefits, former Davao City Councilor Peter T. Laviña challenged the government, stating that the current demand for palm oil averages from 350,000 to 450,000 metric tons and the country’s requirement has increased because coconut is being exported for high value uses such as cosmetics.

We also encourage the government to adapt successful models and come up with a plant-now-pay-later scheme for the farmers​,” he said.

Cosmetics industry has been working with more sustainable materials

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.

One recent 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.

German chemicals firm BASF got involved and after a three year period succeeded in establishing the world's first certified production of dried coconut flesh or 'copra' to oil in the Philippines.

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 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. 

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