Most palm oil is produced in Malaysia and Indonesia on land that was once thriving rainforest. As global demand grows, more and more forests are being cleared.
In areas such as Borneo and Sumatra, rich in biodiversity, deforestation can be catastrophic. Endangered species including orang-utans, tigers, elephants and rhinos are losing critical habitats, pushing them toward extinction.
In 2004, WWF helped set up the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a group that includes every link in the global supply chain, from growers and processors, to food companies and retailers and investors.
With the RSPO, WWF developed a set of international standards for responsible palm oil production. Producers that show they meet these criteria are able to sell certified sustainable palm oil. That means companies that use it in their lipstick, soap, margarine or whatever else can make the same guarantee to their customers.
Certified sustainable palm oil cannot be grown in place of primary forest or in important conservation areas. Growers have to use the best growing practices to keep soil and water supplies healthy, and to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. They also need to pay a decent wage and respect the rights of workers and communities.
The first certified sustainable palm oil came on to the market in September 2008. Today, about 6.4% of all palm oil is certified sustainable.
By looking out for CSPO, the label for sustainable palm oill, you’ll be able to buy these products safe in the knowledge that you’re not contributing to the destruction of the rainforests.