When doing the initial research for our synthetic alternative to palm oil components, we quickly came across lots of information regarding the current palm oil industry. It soon became apparent that the economies of countries, for example Indonesia and Malaysia, depend almost entirely upon the current methods of palm oil production. Therefore we compiled a detailed impact analysis report for synthetic palm oil, which can be found by clicking on the button to the right.

The Need For A Truly Sustainable, Cheap Palm Oil

Due to the issues raised previously concerning the cultivation of palm oil, and high-profile protests from the likes of Greenpeace[1], many multinational companies are making a big push to obtain the palm oil used in their products from sustainable sources. But is certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) actually sustainable?
The short answer is no:

  • The industry standard sustainable palm oil, CSPO, is inherently problematic in that CSPO can be mixed with unsustainable palm oil at any point in the production process (mass balance supply option)[2], meaning that plantations cultivating palm oil in an unsustainable manner are still being supported

  • The GreenPalm system allows companies to purchase a certificate (supposedly from a sustainable grower, but the certificates are not highly regulated) and then advertise that they support the trade in sustainable palm oil[3][4]

  • Unilever is one of the founding members and is currently one of the chairs of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), meaning that RSPO is not solely regulated by neutral parties[5]

  • RSPO has come under fire in the past due to its lack of a ‘no deforestation’ policy[6] and its apparent inadequacy in regards to keeping track of its members and claims of certified sustainable palm oil[7]

As the above undoubtedly shows, there is still a need for a truly sustainable palm oil or palm oil alternative.

[1] The Economist (2010). The campaign against palm oil: The other oil spill. Jun 24th
[2] WWF Global. What are the sustainable palm oil supply chains?
[3] Ethical Consumer (2008). Palm oil & RSPO
[4] Greenpeace (2013). Certifying Destruction
[5] Unilever. Sustainable Sourcing: Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
[6] Neste Palm Oil
[7] Greenpeace (2013). Forest fires show RSPO stamp far from ‘green’
[8] Photo © Greenpeace Finland