This step by Cargill – the largest North American importer of palm oil – supports the company's goal that the palm oil it imports is grown sustainably. RSPO certification for Cargill's United States refineries follows its European and Malaysian operations, which were certified to offer RSPO products to food manufacturers in 2010.
"Cargill is committed to improving the sustainability of the palm oil supply chain," said Kris Knudson, national sales manager, Cargill Oils & Shortenings. "It is our hope that all palm oil plantations become RSPO-certified, and our eventual goal is to have a 100-percent RSPO certified supply chain."
Over the past several years, Cargill has taken several steps towards this goal:
Cargill has been an active RSPO member since 2004 to promote the growth of sustainable palm and use of sustainable palm oil.
Cargill was one of the 15 plantation owners that volunteered to pilot the RSPO's Principles & Criteria prior to their finalization in 2007.
Cargill's palm plantation, PT Hindoli in Sumatra, Indonesia, was one of the first 15 to receive RSPO certification in 2009.
Cargill formed a partnership with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) to assess areas of orangutan populations for future study and conservation, and to share best practices in palm plantation development.
Smallholder farmers at Cargill's PT Hindoli site were the first to be certified under the RSPO's Smallholder Principles & Criteria in late 2010.
Cargill is collaborating with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to assess its palm oil suppliers in Indonesia to assess progress amongst its Indonesian palm oil suppliers in implementing the Principles and Criteria established by the RSPO.
At the end of 2010, 70 percent of Cargill's total crude palm oil was purchased from RSPO members.
Cargill offers its customers the option to utilize all physical chain of custody trading models authorized by the RSPO ("segregation" and "mass-balance") to help them understand RSPO requirements and enable them to make the best choice to meet their business needs.
"Sustainability initiatives are taking on greater urgency for food manufacturers as consumers, retailers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) push for an increased focus on environmental and social issues," added Knudson. "At Cargill, we are committed to helping lead efforts to move the palm oil industry toward more sustainable production and are encouraging third-party suppliers to join RSPO and attain certification."
The RSPO was formally established in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil, as well as to develop and agree to a set of Principles & Criteria for sustainable palm production. Today it is an international, multi-stakeholder forum of more than 400 members and affiliates representing all those along the palm oil supply chain including producers, processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental and social non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit www.cargill.com.