Tuesday, 3 March 2009

First Cargill palm plantation certified sustainable by RSPO

Personal note: Given the RSPO is an organisation managed by the palm oil industry I choose read this type of announcement with suspicion. There is also mention of three organisations working with the palm oil industry. I wonder what their relationship is.


The FINANCIAL -- Cargill on March 2 announced that its first palm plantation - PT. Hindoli in Sumatra - has received the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Certification.

This is an important milestone in the company's commitment to producing palm oil in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner. PT. Hindoli is also one of the first palm plantations in Indonesia to receive RSPO certification.

According to Cargill, the RSPO aims to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. The criteria to define sustainable palm oil comprise plantation operational chain, environmental and biodiversity issues as well as social aspects. RSPO certification is achieved through a rigorous examination process in which all operations, processes and practices of a palm plantation are thoroughly evaluated.

"Receiving our RSPO certification is a landmark achievement in our continuous effort to have all Cargill-invested oil palm plantations RSPO certified," said Richard Tan, chief executive officer, CTP Holdings Pte Ltd, which is Cargill's oil palm joint venture company.

"We are continuing through this year to work towards certification for all our palm plantations, and we hope to receive all RSPO certifications as quickly as possible." PT. Hindoli, a subsidiary of CTP Holdings Pte Ltd, was successfully audited by BSi Management Systems and subsequently certified by the Executive Board of the RSPO after Expert Audit review. Cargill owns and operates five palm plantations - two in Indonesia andthree in Papua New Guinea - as well as 12 palm oil refineries across the world.

With the growing demand for palm oil in both food and non-food applications, it is critical that all parts of the palm oil supply chain - from plantations to retailers - act in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner. Cargill fully supports the efforts of the RSPO to develop the mechanisms to distinguish sustainable palm oil products in the market place.

"We are looking forward to implement sustainable supply chain solutions together with our customers," said Stan Ryan, managing director of Cargill Refined Oils Europe. "Achieving RSPO certification for Cargill-invested oil palm plantations will increase the supply of sustainable palm oil to serve our customers and is part of following through on our commitment to sustainability and social responsibility."

Cargill is committed to supporting sustainable palm production and prior to the establishment of the RSPO sustainability criteria, the company already committed not to plant on high conservation value forests, to only develop new plantations on 'degraded' land and preserve deep peat land.

In partnership with non-governmental organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Conservation International (CI) and Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Cargill has initiated various research and environmental projects. These are helping to protect endangered species like orangutans, to conserve high value forest critical for maintaining biodiversity and combat the effects of climate change, as well as examining the economic feasibility of palm oil development on degraded lands.

Cargill also actively engages local communities in the vicinity of its plantations to help improve welfare and livelihoods. The company provides income for tens of thousands of smallholder farmers supplying palm fruits, offers free medical care through company clinics, builds schools, offers day care and provides housing for thousands of employees.