Much of the concern about oil sustainability focuses on palm oil as it has been linked to deforestation, which negatively impacts the environment, forest wildlife and the communities where it’s grown. The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) aims to make sustainable palm oil the norm around the world, according to its website, 

“Segregated certified palm oil products must be produced according to the principles and criteria established by the RSPO, which verifies that forests are protected and social and environmental safeguards are met during the oil’s production and harvest,” said Tai Ullmann, sustainability lead, global edible oil solutions, Cargill. “To carry the segregated RSPO designation, all products must be kept separate from commodity palm oil supplies and be traceable throughout the supply chain. It is produced on RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil plantations and refined at RSPO-certified facilities.”

Cargill will be opening a new palm oil refinery in Lampung, Indonesia, later this year, which will enable a fully integrated supply chain from plantation to customer. Cargill’s palm oil sustainability strategy builds on the company’s global priorities, delivering palm oil produced in accordance with No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation (NDPE) practices, Ms. Ullmann said. The company works with a variety of partners to drive change.

“We are working to build a traceable, transparent and sustainable palm oil supply chain that protects high conservation value (HCV) areas, high carbon stock (HCS) forests and peatlands regardless of depth; respects and upholds the rights of workers, indigenous peoples and local communities; enables smallholders to become successful businesspeople, improving their livelihoods through responsible production, maximizing yields and improving quality; and upholds high standards of transparency through reporting of traceability,” she said.

Bunge Loders Croklaan also produces its palm oil in accordance with NDPE practices. The company works with suppliers to ensure they are in compliance as well as reputable third parties to validate supplier information.

“Our industry-leading non-deforestation commitment means we do not source from illegally deforested areas in any region where we operate. To detect deforestation, we use satellite technology to actively monitor peat lands, forest reserves and mills where we source our oil,” said Marina Negroponte, manager, ESG global customers and NA oils, Bunge Loders Croklaan. “We aim to be an accountable leader that helps to raise the bar for our sector. Our public traceability dashboards are updated regularly with new information. And outside of our supply chains, we are part of industry efforts, including the RSPO.”

Corbion reached 100% RSPO mass balance (MB) certified palm oil and primary oleochemicals in 2020, and the company set  a goal to be 100% RSPO MB certified for all secondary oleochemicals by 2024, Ms. Visser said.

More than 80% of Columbus Vegetable Oils’ palm oil is RSPO-certified.

“It is likely that in a few years all palm oil will be RSPO sustainable under the current schemes of traceability,” said Rick Cummisford, director of quality at Columbus Vegetable Oils.

This article is an excerpt from the April 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Fats & Oils, click here.