The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has claimed that Palm oil output that does not cut down forests and harm wildlife may double to 3 million tonnes by the end of this year. The bulk of the output will come from Malaysian palm oil suppliers as they draw closer to ensuring their estates, mills and processors comply with commitments to ensure that the source of their palm oil is sustainable.
The latest declaration is part of an attempt of the RSPO to re-establish its presence after green activists groups have provided evidence damning the credibility of the organisation. For instance, Greenpeace claims that even though RSPO member companies are paying lip-service to forest and peatland protection, the reality is very different. The existing standards developed by the RSPO will not prevent forest and peatland destruction, and a number of RSPO members are taking no steps to avoid the worst practices of the palm oil industry. Some like palm oil processor Duta Palma, an RSPO member, are directly involved in deforestation. Worse still, at present the RSPO itself is creating the illusion of sustainable palm oil, justifying the expansion of the industry.
Environmental sustainability is a major public relations issue facing palm oil planters and producers. The industry has come under heavy fire of late for its deforestation practices that have taken a major environmental toll on rainforests and the natural habitat of many endangered species, including the orangutan.
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Meanwhile, in other news, India's vegetable oil imports in February fell 8% to 700,769 tonne from a year ago as higher purchases in the previous months pushed up port stocks, according to the the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA).
Monthly imports were lower due to excessive imports in the first quarter and large stocks at ports, said BV Mehta, executive director of the trade body. Vegetable oil imports in February included 29,476 tonne of industrial oils, such as palm fatty acid distillate, down 9.2% from a year earlier.
India, the world's top vegetable oil importer, buys mainly palm oils from Indonesia and Malaysia and a small quantity of soyaoil from Argentina and Brazil. The country had bought 2.9 million tonnes during November-February a year earlier.