Did you know that 88 percent of palm oil that has been processed by the Dutch food industry in the year 2017 has been processed in an sustainable manner? The Netherlands, where sustainable palm oil is called duurzame palmolie, has a very strict policy regarding the processing of palm oil. We want to make sure that the product has a sustainable origin.
Origin of palm oil
But what exactly is palm oil? Palm oil is pressed from palm fruit of the oil palm. It is the most widely used vegetal based oil in the world. You can find palm oil in ice cream, cookies, margarine, but also in cosmetical products like lipstick or shampoo. Palm oil is everywhere! But palm plants can only grow in a specific area around the equator. Palm plantations need a tropical climate, so the largest production sites can be found in Indonesia and Malaysia. That’s why we need to take good care of these production sites, and make sure palm oil is produced in a sustainable matter.
As world population will increase, so will the demand for palm oil. Oils and fats play a major role in the world food supply. Luckily, palm oil is produced in a very efficient manner. It has the highest yield per hectare compared to other vegetable oil production sites.
The product of palm oil is regularly associated with abuses such as deforestation, environmental pollution and socio economic problems. But the Dutch industry proves that palm oil can also be produced in a sustainable matter. The oil can be produced in a way that it is not at the expense of the local nature and community. If you think of it, it’d make sense to design this industry in such a way, that both ends profit from the production of palm oil. The demand for palm oil is likely to sustain over time. Thus the local community is guaranteed to have an sustainable income for years to come. This way, a sustainable production of palm oil can help to develop countries, both economically and socially.
As consumers, we must make sure that we only buy palm oil that has been produced in a responsible manner. Therefore, look for the RSPO (Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil) symbol. Companies that carry this certificate, have produced their product according to sustainable principles. But in recent years, more palm oil was produced according to the RSPO criteria than was ultimately sold as RSPO-certified palm oil. The demand for sustainable palm oil is smaller than the supply. And that is a shame. Time to change that!