25.07.2013

Certified sustainable palm oil arrives in Hamburg

Farmer harvesting palm oil

Picture: GIZ/Watcharapong Jarupun

Palm oil is found in many everyday products, from food to detergents to biofuels. However, the cultivation of oil palms often necessitates the clearing of large areas of rainforest. To counteract this, between 2009 and 2012 an International Climate Initiative project supported farmers in Thailand in efforts to produce palm oil in a more sustainable manner and curb negative ecological impacts. The first 1,000-tonne shipment of palm oil produced in this way by Univanich Palm Oil Company Limited has now arrived in Hamburg. Univanich has already received other orders from Europe.

On behalf of the Federal Environment Ministry, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH advised Thai small-scale farmers and operators of palm oil mills on boosting their productivity through improved resource efficiency and planting methods. This provided an alternative to the Thai Government's plan to increase production levels primarily by expanding land for cultivation. In addition, the international sustainability certification system Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was introduced for small-scale farmers. Among other things, this certification guarantees the buyers that the oil palms were not cultivated at the expense of forest areas.