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Companies call for tougher sustainability standards for palm oil

June 2, 2015

Companies call for tougher sustainability standards for palm oil

Alison Moodie
Tuesday 2 June 2015 00.32 BST

Businesses are often urged to adhere to tougher green standards. But on Monday, 16 companies rallied together with investors and NGOs to call for more oversight for palm oil production, which is a huge contributor to deforestation.

Big-name companies such as food and beverage multinational PepsiCo, retail giant Walmart and coffee chain Starbucks, as well as numerous investors and NGOs, signed a letter, released Monday, urging the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to enforce stricter standards.

“As an international certification scheme, the RSPO is uniquely positioned to support, promote, and enforce the widespread uptake of responsible and sustainable production practices across the palm oil industry,” the letter states. “Given current shortcomings of RSPO certification, however, purchasing RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) does not sufficiently address critical sustainability concerns in the palm oil supply chain.”

Palm oil is the cheapest vegetable oil on the market, and is used in approximately 50% of consumer goods from cosmetics to packaged foods. Imports to the United States have jumped 485% in the past decade, and this increased demand has led to the rampant destruction of rainforests and the displacement of local communities to make way for palm oil plantations, primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia. Most worryingly, by razing rainforests to farm the oil, companies are releasing dangerous quantities of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, making palm oil production a big contributor to climate change.

Read more at The Guardian.

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