Cargill has announced it will be exclusively offering palm oil certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), as it looks to respond to growing consumer and customer demand for more sustainably sourced ingredients. As of this month, the company will no longer offer conventional palm oil in its US portfolio.
The decision to solely offer RSPO-certified palm oil from Cargill’s US refineries addresses rising demand from both consumers, who increasingly prioritise sustainability in their purchase decisions as well as food manufacturers and retailers, who are working to advance their supply chain sustainability goals.
“RSPO members like Cargill represent one of the most pivotal pieces of the supply chain in terms of linking RSPO certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) to supply chain actors wanting to source CSPO for their consumer products,” said Cameron Plese, Head of North America, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. “By bringing certified ingredients to market, companies like Cargill are playing a vital role in enabling RSPO members, and other companies in North America, to continue to achieve their ambitious targets of sourcing and manufacturing products that are 100% RSPO certified. Our hope is that North America will become a market where 100% of products are RSPO certified, and this action that Cargill has taken helps to move us closer to that reality.”
As a versatile ingredient, palm oil is used in a variety of products, from soap and cosmetics to chocolate and noodles. Concerns around the sustainability and environmental impact of conventional palm oil, however, have caused some suppliers to rethink the palm oil they offer.
The production of RSPO-certified palm oil is required to follow a set of sustainability principles and criteria established by the RSPO, which verifies that forests are protected, and social and environmental safeguards are met during the oil’s production and harvest.
Cargill has supplied RSPO-certified palm oil since 2005, the company reported, and as of December 2020, converted its Charlotte, N.C. refinery to 100% segregated palm oil. With this latest move by January 2024, all customers buying palm oil from one of Cargill’s US refineries can be assured they are receiving RSPO-certified palm oil, sourced from either mass balance or segregated supply chains.
“Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to our goal of having a fully transparent, traceable and sustainable palm oil supply chain, and is an important milestone as we continue to work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainably way,” said Reid Kinde, Cargill Commercial Leader for Edible Oils North America. “RSPO certification gives customers peace of mind knowing that the palm oil they buy from our US refineries was produced under a comprehensive certification program, with requirements and processes aimed at preventing deforestation and protecting animals and the people who live and work in palm-oil-producing regions.”
In order to ensure sufficient quantities of RSPO-certified palm oil, Cargill has invested US$200 million in a new palm oil refinery in Lampung, Indonesia. Thanks to its location, the Lampung refinery sources palm oil directly from Cargill-owned plantations and mills and selected third-party mills which are compliant with Cargill’s policy on sustainability. This enables Cargill to provide customers with higher assurance that its palm oil supply chain is food safe, reliable and traceable.
“Responsible ingredient sourcing is good for the planet and good for our business,” concluded Kinde. “Increasingly, sustainability is a driver for consumers who see product choices as a reflection of who they are and what they value. Our bold commitment to RSPO-certified palm oil supply chains is one way we earn trust and demonstrate prioritization of sustainable-sourcing practices.”
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