Cargill has moved to enhance its environmental policies in becoming one of a small number of large-scale US suppliers of segregated palm oil certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), writes Neill Barston.
As the company revealed, its latest initiative starts next month, with all its supplies from its Charlotte, North Carolina refinery will be solely dedicated to providing the sustainably sourced product.
The venture adds to its recent report this summer detailing progress on another significant goal in terms of its palm oil sourcing from Asia, which targeted the elimination of deforestation with its supply chain by the end of 2020.
“Palm oil plays a critical role in feeding and supporting millions, as it is the world’s most widely used vegetable oil,” said Reid Kinde, North American commercial leader for Cargill’s global edible oils business. “With growing numbers of brands pledging to source palm oil responsibly, we are now positioned to supply North American food manufacturers with sufficient quantities of segregated RSPO-certified product to meet their sustainability commitments.”
The expanded supply means consumers may soon see the sustainable palm oil used in many of their favourite foods, including bakery, snacks, confectionery and dairy, as well as popular non-dairy creamers.
Segregated certified palm oil must be produced according to the principles and criteria established by the RSPO, which verifies that forests are protected, and social and environmental safeguards are met during the oil’s production and harvest. To carry the segregated RSPO designation, all product must be kept separate from commodity palm oil supplies and be traceable throughout the supply chain. It is produced on RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil plantations, refined at RSPO-certified facilities and ultimately used by a RSPO-certified manufacturer.
Cargill has been supplying RSPO-certified palm oil since 2005, now reaching customers in Europe, Mexico, Australia and Malaysia. However, this expansion of its supply chain further leverages Cargill’s global footprint and reflects growing demand for ethically sourced palm oil. In September, RSPO reported sales of certified palm oil increased by 13% globally in 2019 alone.
Previously, Cargill offered its North American customers mass-balanced sustainable palm oil. With the new segregated sustainable palm oil offering, manufacturers are assured that the palm oil they purchase and utilise comes only from RSPO-certified sustainable sources.
Cargill’s move to ramp up RSPO-certified palm oil comes as the company nears its goal of providing traceability to all palm plantations in high-risk landscapes and marks an important milestone in advancing its progress and action plan on sustainable palm oil production. Its plan details the company’s commitment to transparent sourcing practices, engaged suppliers, and rigorous monitoring and verification practices.
“More than ever, brands and consumers care about the standards behind the products they buy,” said Kinde. “People want assurance that the raw materials used are sourced in a sustainable, environmentally conscious way. By significantly increasing the supply of segregated certified-sustainable palm oil, we’re giving our customers and consumers confidence in our sourcing practices and reaffirming our commitment to supporting sustainable practices throughout our operations.”