100% sustainably sourced?

RSPO_Logo__2__20140604_030433The day that all palm oil used in The Netherlands will be certified sustainable is not far away anymore. And this is partly thanks to the European biofuels policy RED. These are the two most salient conclusions from a study done for PBL, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. The assignment was to research the sourcing policies of small and medium businesses for palm oil in The Netherlands. Why would they opt for certified sustainable volumes, and when they do, what are their potential benefits?

The impact of the EU biofuels policy lies in the fact that only the liquid parts of  palm oil (olein) are used in biofuels. The RED policy has led to the import of large certified volumes, and thus to the availability of large volumes of certified stearine, the more solid parts of palm oil used in the food and feed sectors. Without this effect of the RED policy, these sectors would probably not have been able to afford the current levels of consumption of sustainable palm oil.

The study also found that the impact of supermarket sourcing policies is substantial. Once their policies include the use of sustainable palm oil, they force the producers of their private label products to switch from conventional to certified palm oil. Their buying power over these producers has substantial impact on the demand for sustainable volumes.

Given certain assumptions, in 2014 some 93% was certified of all palm oil volumes used in food, fuels, feed and other sector taken together.