This report from Efeca - secretariat to the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil - measures the progress towards meeting the 2020 Amsterdam Commitment to source 100% sustainable palm oil (SPO) within Europe. It presents the overall figure for the amount of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) imported into the UK via the four UK refineries, as well as the remaining volume that is uncertified entering the UK. The objective of this publication is to report on progress to date, whilst also identifying where the remaining volumes of uncertified palm oil are sourced from, in order to help achieve the goal of 100% CSPO usage within the UK by 2020. It covers previous data points reported on in the 2012-2016 commitment period and will continue to be published annually until 2020. It also explores the wider consumption of palm oil in the UK.
The UK Roundtable on Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil (RSSPO) is part of the UK Sustainable Palm Oil Initiative (SPOI), working collectively to reduce the UK palm oil deforestation footprint, while supporting and aligning with existing global initiatives working on sustainable palm oil, to create a mass market change.
As a result of agricultural production, land conversion is the single biggest contributor to deforestation globally, with approximately 70% attributed to agricultural expansion, specifically related to livestock for meat production, soya, palm oil and pulp and paper production. Although the UK on average accounts for <3% of total global production of these commodities, more than 40% of the UK’s annual, imported, overseas commodity-driven land footprint (nearly 6 million ha) is concentrated in a relatively small number of countries at high or very high risk of deforestation, weak governance and poor labour standards.
Palm oil production faces significant challenges because it can be linked to deforestation, land conflicts and human rights violations. On the other hand, palm oil provides several benefits: it is extremely versatile, has good nutrition properties, and can be the most efficient oil seed crop to grow, due to its high yields. As a result, it can provide significant social and economic benefits such as increased food security, and increased rural income and development. When grown sustainably through a certification scheme, other beneficial impacts of sustainable production and certification include aiding smallholders to increase yields and the enforcement of labour rights. Environmentally, sustainable production can reduce the risks of land conversion, especially on peatland, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity. Furthermore, sustainable palm oil certification increases traceability and transparency throughout the supply chain, which increases consumer awareness.