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Supporting sustainable palm oil production

Commitment is growing among large consumer goods companies to source palm oil from sustainable growers. Unilever, Nestlé, Target and many others see the importance of making their palm oil supply chains sustainable, and have publicly committed to achieving it.

2011 — ongoing

Our aim is to enable companies, governments and civil society to work together to improve standards of palm oil production and meet the expectations of global markets. Actors from all sides need to understand what sustainable production means and how to implement it in practice. Producers need to be able to identify and implement improvements in production practices; trained assessors are needed to evaluate whether production practices are ‘sustainable’. Yet in many countries, that knowledge is limited.

Across Latin America and West Africa we are working at many levels to push forward the transition to sustainable palm oil production. We provide institutional support through training, raising awareness and processes to develop national versions of international standards, such as the Principles and Criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

With partners we facilitated or supported RSPO national interpretation processes in five countries during 2014 (Honduras, Guatemala, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria). Complementing this institutional support, we also provide direct, on-going assistance to several pioneering companies in West Africa to help them develop their capability to meet RSPO standards.

Our areas of work

A view from Honduras

Proforest’s support has been really important for the oil palm sector in Honduras, and for Jaremar in particular. Proforest has helped the technical committee on the national interpretation of the RSPO Principles and Criteria, and supported smallholders to gain funding for group certification. Proforest’s RSPO and HCV courses were fundamentally important for us in Jaremar to understand the RSPO requirements, and to develop our plans for achieving certification. Suyapa Diaz, RSPO Coordinator, Jaremar (Honduras' second largest palm oil producer)