The criteria of sustainable palm oil

huile de palme durable

The criteria of sustainable palm oil

For Alliance member companies, palm oil is considered sustainable if it comes from a plantation that:

  • has no impact on deforestation, meaning exploitation preserves high conservation value areas (including forests known as “primary forests” or “virgin forests”), high carbon stock forests (including forests known as “secondary”) and peatlands.
  • preserves biodiversity: habitats of protected or endangered species, wildlife corridors up to 500m wide from one forest to another for large and small animals, etc.
  • is cautious in its use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers, and finds substitutes for the most toxic products.
  • limits its carbon footprint by treating all its waste through environmentally friendly practices (composting, anaerobic digestion of plantation and oil mill waste, etc.)
  • protects the rights of local populations and workers, respecting the principle of free, prior and informed consent of those communities.

These stricter criteria were developed with NGOs working in the field.

Founded in 2004 under the aegis of the WWF, the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) is currently the only international organisation to provide clear certification to its members with defined specifications and practical solutions. It ensures a level of environmental protection to primary forests and high conservation value areas. It also guarantees fairer local redistribution of wealth and benefits generated by an area’s oil palms.

Compliance with these criteria is a prerequisite for certification, approval that can also be withdrawn by the RSPO should an inspection have negative results.

The French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil is following RSPO specifications to achieve the objective of 100% certified palm oil by 2015.

The members of the French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil have pledged, by 2020, to use palm oil that meets the highest standard available (see the Alliance’s definition of sustainability here).

Why is this important?

The Alliance criteria defining sustainability help preserve the priceless treasures of our ecosystems while addressing development issues among local populations. This therefore concerns five ecosystem types:

  1. Primary forests. They are intact, never having been exploited, fragmented or influenced by man. They are home to many protected species, such as orangutans, tigers, rhinos, and numerous others.
  2. High conservation value areas (HCVA). There are three types: environmental (primary forests, banks of major rivers, etc.), social (cemeteries, sacred spaces, etc.) and economic (food crops, mining or traditional gathering activities, etc.).
  3. Peatlands. These fragile wetlands store vast quantities of organic carbon and are key areas for stabilising the global climate.
  4. High carbon stock areas: secondary forests, meaning those that have been impacted by humans (i.e., through logging) but are still very dense. They store large amounts of carbon and are home to significant biodiversity.
  5. The lands of local peoples (in principle included in the “social” and “economic” categories of high conservation value areas).