Palm Oil – GreenPalm

The demand for palm oil is constantly increasing – more manufacturers are using palm oil in their products every day. Sadly this palm oil is often sourced from unsustainable production plantations, which as a result are causing deforestation and various other forms of pollution.  As a result of this many consumers have taken a stand, and are even boycotting any product containing palm oil.

We believe however that this is not the way to approach the situation, but instead more and more people should be supporting sustainably produced palm oil. Palm oil is present in hundreds of products nowerdays, and is seen as a necessity; therefore it’s unrealistic to believe it’ll be eradicated from these products altogether. Sustainable palm oil however completely removes any issues of deforestation and pollution.

Organisations such as GreenPalm have been set up to help promote sustainable palm oil. GreenPalm is a certificate trading programme which tackles both the environmental and social issues caused by palm oil production. Suppliers can then reward palm oil producers for working sustainably, whilst telling their customers that they’ve sourced sustainable palm oil. Major organisations such as Cadbury’s use GreenPalm’s certificate trading programme.

In the next few years we expect even more major players to jump on board with GreenPalm’s certificate trading programme, and use sustainably sourced palm oil. We’d like to think eventually almost all palm oil will be sustainably sourced. If you have any organisations which help spread the word about sustainable palm oil, please don’t hesitate to get in touch so that we can cover them in a future blog post.

Advertisements

Palm Oil Protest by US Girl Scouts

Palm oil production causing deforestation is a major topical issue of the moment. That’s why it’s all the more exciting to see 2 young girl scouts in the US raising awareness of the issue, and trying to promote awareness a more sustainable solution.

Rhiannon Tomishen and Madison Vorva have been campaigning against the use of palm oil in Girl Scout Cookies. At the age of 11 the girls began to take an interest in endangered orangutans and the damage palm oil plantations were having on their habitats.

Since this point they’ve been trying to raise awareness of the issue by creating campaigns. Last year they it 70,000 signatures for their campaign. This year they’re currently at over 40,000 signatures for their Change.org campaign, which is asking the Girl Scouts USA to stop using palm oil altogether in any products they sell.

Personally, we don’t feel that the removal of palm oil altogether isn’t the best option. However using sustainable palm oil is a fantastic solution, and as a result we applaud the efforts of Rhiannon and Madison wholeheartedly. We’re hoping to see more major names over the next few years announce that they’re sourcing 100% sustainable palm oil in their products. Until that point we hope more people will continue to help raise awareness of the issues caused by normal palm oil production, and instead we’d like to see sustainable palm oil plantations become the norm.

Palm Oil – Top 5 Interesting Links

Palm oil is a hot topic right now. We’ve been to the edges of the internet to bring you our top 5 palm oil related links. We’ve managed to get a huge variety of useful and informative links – from the latest palm oil news, information about sustainable palm oil, a palm oil certificate trading program, and even a site to buy and sell palm oil.

  • http://www.greenpalm.org/en/about-palm-oil/what-is-palm-oil – GreenPalm is a certificate trading programme, designed to tackle the environmental and social problems created by the production of palm oil. GreenPalm actively promotes sustainable palm oil production, and is directly endorsed by the RSPO.
  • http://topics.bloomberg.com/palm-oil/ – Bloomberg is a site for the latest business news and financial information. They’ve even got a specific section just for palm oil news. If you’re invested in the palm oil industry, or simply take an interest in the palm oil market, then be sure to visit Bloomberg.
  • http://www.alibaba.com/products/palm_oil/–20607.html – Alibaba is an award winning trade site for Manufacturers, Suppliers, Exporters, Importers, Buyers and Wholesalers. As of writing they have 6,879 items listed under palm oil.
  • http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/safeguarding_the_natural_world/forests/forest_conversion/how_clean_is_our_palm_oil_.cfm – A great article showing the latest 2011 scorecard for palm oil buyers using sustainable palm oil. We’re very interested to see the improvements this year, however until this point we certainly recommend checking out the 2011 scorecard.
  • http://www.rspo.org/ – The RSPO are the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm. They are a non-profit organisation which aim to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products, by using global standards and engaging with stakeholders.

We hope you find these links to be as useful as we do. If you come across any interesting palm oil related links which you think we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to our list!

Palm Oil Biodiesel Rejected

It’s all over the news this week – the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that palm oil biodiesel doesn’t meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction level required to be used as an alternative to petrol-based diesel fuel.

To produce their results the EPA takes into consideration the emission and energy inputs for fuel production, alongside the change in land use needed to use palm oil as a feedstock.  Their results found that palm oil produces a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, however the law requires that a biodiesel produces a reduction of 20% when compared to traditional diesel fuel.

These results from the EPA however lean largely on assumptions about how the biodiesel fuels are actually being produced. Obviously every plantation operates slightly differently, therefore a sustainable palm oil production plant will have a significantly lower level of emissions than that of a standard plantation.

The EPA will continue to look for new forms of biodiesel with lower greenhouse gas emissions. However we’re starting to see a real increase in the amount of sustainable palm oil production plants recently – which provides a good chance that the emissions footprint of palm oil could become even lower in the future. Be sure to continue support for sustainably sourced palm oil in the products you purchase.

Palm Oil: GreenPalm Brokerage Fee Reduction

GreenPalm, the leading certificate trading programme supporting the production of sustainable palm oil, has reached a new milestone and as a result have reduced their brokerage fees once again. Back in August 2011, the palm oil certificate trading programme, had a brokerage reduction to $1.50. From January 1st 2012 all palm oil certificate trades will carry a reduced brokerage fee of $1 per certificate!

What benefits does this brokerage fee reduction provide? Put simply, it allows for an even more cost effective solution for those supporting sustainable palm oil. One of the biggest barriers to entry for companies to join in and support sustainable palm oil is the cost. With a lower base cost comes an increase in demand. This is great news for sustainable palm oil, as all of us would like to see production be 100% sustainable.

Here’s a rundown of GreenPalm’s brokerage fee history:

  • September 2008 – October 2009 $3 fee
  • November 2009 – July 2011 $2 fee
  • August 2011 – December 2011 $1.5 fee
  • January 2012 – Onwards $1 fee

At the end of 2011 GreenPalm & the RSPO also managed to reach another impressive landmark – the 3 millionth certificate, since the trading programme began in September 2008. What does this mean exactly? The RSPO gets $3 million back, which it then puts towards funding work, such as the upcoming independent smallholder project. Also the 3 million tonnes of RSPO certified palm oil which has been sold thanks to GreenPalm, has managed to result in huge premiums of over $20 million back to a range of RSPO certified producers, which averages at around $6.80 per certificate. Impressive numbers!

For more information about GreenPalm and their sustainable palm oil certificate trading programme be sure to visit – http://www.greenpalm.org

Palm Oil – Low or High Yield?

It has been said that high-yield palm oil plantations minimize the amount of deforestation, however a recent article published by ‘Environmentalresearchweb’ suggests that this is in fact incorrect. Instead they claim that a study has revealed data which shows that high-yield farming of palm oil actually increases the amount of deforestation than that required for low-yield farming techniques.

A study in the area of the Ucayali region showed that palm oil plantation expansion was 102.3 square km between the years of 2000-2010, of which 80% was due to low-yield plantations. What’s interesting is that only 30% of these low-yield plantations were actually due to forest conversion, compared to a huge 75% of the high-yield plantations. The team then calculated that if this entire palm oil plantation expansion area was high-yield plantations, then 64% less land would  have been required to produce the same amount of crop. However instead a 58% larger area of forest would have been destroyed as a result.

Why is this you ask? The reason is believed to be due to high-yield palm oil farm techniques usually being done by private companies, who have the capital to afford land which hasn’t been cleared in the past. However low-yield farmers usually work as individuals and as a result can’t afford these expensive regions of land, and instead purchase local land-tenure areas.

From this interesting article it’s safe to say that maybe more higher-yield plantations isn’t the way to go, however lower-yield plantations end up using larger amounts of land. Hopefully a balance will be struck, as the issue of forest destruction is one which must be taken seriously.

[Source]

Fears over Malaysian Palm Oil

Many analysts are fearing a drop in the worldwide production of palm oil. Malaysia is the second largest producer of palm oil in the world, falling just behind Indonesia. These past few months have seen vast amounts of rainfall, which have had a direct impact on the palm crops. Last year November saw 15% more rainfall in Malaysia than normal across the country. Not only that but Perak, one of the largest palm oil production areas of the country, saw 134% of their standard expected rainfall.

Palm oil sees the largest amount of worldwide production for any edible oil. Of course this makes it vital that the production of palm oil continues to go smoothly. Sadly this month exports of palm oil from Malaysia dropped by around 3% with production dropping by a whopping 10%. Malaysia exported 1.66 million metric tons of palm oil in November, and only 1.49 million in December.

Analysts feared that the above normal levels of rainfall would cause issues with the production of palm oil, and as a result palm oil futures increased by 9.3% in the final quarter of 2011.  The Independent Forecasting Service for Oils, Oil World, said the decline in stockpiles “supported palm oil prices in recent weeks, coinciding with fears that excessive rainfall may magnify the seasonal decline of palm oil production in Malaysia in the near term.”

With the economic situation currently looking poor it’s extremely important that palm oil production stays smooth and that demand is met.

[Source]