AAK to bring sustainable palm oil to North America

by Jeff Gelski
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PORT NEWARK, N.J. — AAK has secured its first shipment of sustainably produced palm oil destined for North America. The oil from Malaysia should be available to AAK customers by June, the company, which has a U.S. office in Port Newark, said April 19.

Malaysian-based United Plantation produced the palm oil. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (R.S.P.O.) has certified United Plantation to produce certified sustainable palm oil (C.S.P.O.). The R.S.P.O. also has audited and certified AAK’s refinery in New Jersey to import certified sustainable palm oil.

“The arrival of the U.S.A.’s first shipment of sustainably produced palm oil is an important milestone for AAK,” said Jean Marc Rotsaert, president of AAK U.S. “It means, for the first time, that our customers have the opportunity to purchase palm oil that has been independently verified as having been sustainably produced. They can then be among the first to claim that their business uses sustainably produced palm oil.”

AAK is a member of the R.S.P.O., a not-for-profit association that promotes the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through global standards and engagement of stakeholders. An increase in the demand for palm oil has resulted in a 43% increase in the area under cultivation since the 1990s, according to AAK.

“Increased palm oil production has not been achieved, however, without criticism in the key growing areas of Indonesia and Malaysia,” AAK said. “While better managed plantations and palm oil smallholdings serve as models of sustainable agriculture, others have been linked to deforestation.

“That’s why, in 2003, AAK was instrumental in the establishment of the R.S.P.O. and why, since then, the business has been working tirelessly to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through cooperation within the supply chain and open dialogue between its stakeholders.”

For customers unable to buy certified sustainable palm oil because of supply chain or processing restrictions, AAK will offer GreenPalm certificates endorsed by the R.S.P.O.

Sustainable palm oil has received attention in Europe this year. Nestle S.A., Vevey, Switzerland, on March 18 said it plans to use only certified sustainable palm oil by 2015. On April 7, Unilever, London, said it had secured enough GreenPalm certificates of sustainable palm oil to cover the requirements of its European business as well as the requirements for its business in Australia and New Zealand.

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