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Palm oil is the world’s second most used vegetable oil, with an annual production of 400 million tonnes. Millions of people rely on palm oil for their livelihood and for nutrition. However, palm oil has recently been highlighted as a crop that is often grown on deforested land, destroying fragile ecosystems and wildlife and linked to severe human rights and worker abuses.
Over the past few years, we have taken a leading role in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), working alongside NGOs such as Oxfam and WWF, plantations and other actors in our supply chain to change the way palm oil is grown and plantations are managed. This has resulted in a groundbreaking standard for the production of sustainable palm oil, taking into account all aspects of biodiversity and human rights.
The roundtable has been successful in bringing together the business sector and NGOs to tackle the problem and create a more sustainable approach. More than 40% of the world’s palm oil production is now represented in the initiative and some of the world’s largest consumer brands and retailers have joined the RSPO, sending a clear signal that there is a demand for sustainable palm oil. In particular, we are delighted that L'Oréal joined the RSPO at the beginning of 2007.
Through the roundtable we have helped develop high standards. We have provided practical advice on human rights to plantations and The Body Shop Foundation has co-funded important work to make sure small-scale farmers are not disadvantaged by the RSPO standard.
In June 2007 we changed our entire soap range to be manufactured using palm oil from one of the leading sustainable plantations – Daabon in Colombia. We supported Daabon to achieve RSPO certification, which they were awarded in 2008. We also visited the plantation to ensure that the protection and welfare of communities, workers and the surrounding jungle is preserved and promoted. Throughout 2009 we will continue to assess our product range to see if there is further scope to source RSPO certified palm.
The Body Shop Online Team