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If the palm oil industry waited for consumers to care, sustainability would get nowhere

October 26, 2015

If the palm oil industry waited for consumers to care, sustainability would get nowhere

Tim Smedley
Monday 26 October 2015 16.17 GMT

Palm oil is the most-used vegetable oil in the world, accounting for some 65% of all vegetable oil traded, and is found in everything from washing powder to breakfast cereals. Global production has doubled over the past decade and is set to double again by 2020.

But oil palm trees only grow in tropical areas, and vast monocrops are rapidly destroying virgin rainforests and peatland. Ecosystem collapse, air pollution and species extinction have followed.

Global action to reverse these trends has been led by the certification scheme, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Yet, despite being established in 2004, only around 20% of palm oil is certified by the RSPO globally. For the remaining 80%, it’s business as usual.

While CSPO has so far been industry-led, could a tipping point come from heightened consumer understanding and action? That was the question posed at a recent Guardian roundtable, sponsored by the RSPO, that brought together key stakeholders, from buyers and retailers to academics and NGOs.

Read more at The Guardian.

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