ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — The United Nations Environment Programme and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to raise global awareness of sustainable palm oil as well as market demand for it.
“Our hope is that by combining our political and institutional resources, we are able to add value to the efforts that are being undertaken by community groups, N.G.O.s, authorities and leaders in the business community,” Achim Steiner, U.N. Under-Secretary General and executive director of the Environment Programme, said Nov. 14. “The R.S.P.O. deserves our support in their commitment to produce palm oil sustainably.”
Indonesia and Malaysia account for about 87% of palm oil exports. Conventional production methods may be unsustainable as they may damage the environment, including deforestation.
The R.S.P.O. seeks to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through global standards and stakeholder engagement. The R.S.P.O. has certified 18% of the global palm oil yield as sustainable. The R.S.P.O., based in Zurich, has more than 1,800 members and recently received a consultative status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council.A new European Union law in December will require food labels to declare what vegetable oils, including palm oil, are listed among the ingredients. The countries of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium have committed to 100% R.S.P.O.-certified sustainable palm oil. Corporations making similar commitments include Nestle, Unilever, Carrefour and Johnson & Johnson.