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Tuesday October 11, 2011

Demand for certified sustainable palm oil surges 70%

By LIZ LEE
lizlee@thestar.com.my


PETALING JAYA: Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) saw a 70% surge in demand last month, setting off a round of cheering in the Rountable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

It was a significant improvement from 48% a year ago. In the last two years, the demand for CSPO had increased from 25.3% in 2009 to 46.2% last year.

The positive market uptake was certainly welcomed as RSPO was recently on shaky grounds after Indonesia withdrew its membership.

Kees Vis: ‘The current number sparks hopes that a breakthrough is near.’

RSPO president Jan Kees Vis said in a statement that “the current number sparks hopes that a breakthrough is near.”

“Historically, there has always been a delay in market take-up versus production increase, as buyers of large companies have to commit as long as a year in advance to buy raw materials,” he said.

“They will only sign on to what they are sure they can actually purchase from the market in the future,” he added.

Secretary-general Darrel Webber also noted that “a significant number of retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, processors and traders have committed to 100% CSPO by 2015.”

In its efforts to further increase CSPO demand, RSPO has launched an awareness campaign. RSPO will also launch the WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2011 next month to measure the commitment and performance of over 130 major retailers and manufacturers.

Belinda Howell from the Retailers Palm Oil Group said that “growers who have made significant investments and efforts to achieve RSPO certification have been frustrated by the lack of appetite in the market (so) it is particularly good news to see that now more than two thirds have been taken up”.

RSPO was formed in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through global standards and engagement of stakeholders.

The association covers stakeholders from seven categories of the palm oil industry, namely oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental non-governmental organisations (NGO) and social or developmental NGOs.

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