Wednesday 8 May 2013
Collaboration and commitment needed for more sustainable palm oil
A new report, jointly supported by WWF-Australia and the Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC), provides a much-needed assessment of the facts, myths, issues and challenges around palm oil. Launched today, the independent report will provide a springboard for action to increase the proportion of palm oil supplies derived from sustainable sources in the Australian market.
"The report highlights the commitment by many major Australian manufacturers and importers to source only sustainable palm oil," AFGC Chief Executive Officer Gary Dawson said.
"It lays out a way forward, including the need for better understanding of supply chains, better alignment of supply-side and demand-side expectations, and work to overcome significant logistical challenges," Mr Dawson said.
WWF-Australia Chief Executive Officer Dermot O’Gorman said that switching to sustainable palm oil is critical for the environment and many endangered species. Making the change will require increased collaboration between business, government and civil society organisations.
"The recent boom in palm oil exports has undoubtedly resulted in economic growth and job creation in relatively poor regions," Mr O’Gorman said. "However the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations has come at the cost of pristine rainforest in places like Borneo and Sumatra - home to some of the world’s most endangered and iconic species including orangutan and tigers.
"Unsustainable palm oil production is also responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions, and in some cases has displaced indigenous communities that rely on forests for food and shelter. Ensuring that palm oil contributes to economic development while also conserving precious ecosystems requires a major shift away from business as usual.
"Companies must ensure that unsustainable practices are phased out; governments must support corporate commitments with appropriate incentives and land use planning policies," Mr O’Gorman said.
To advance their shared commitment to change, AFGC and WWF-Australia have reaffirmed support for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and are looking at how their continued cooperation can help increase the proportion of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) supplied to Australia.
The Palm Oil in Australia Facts, Issues and Challenges report was prepared and commissioned from Net Balance Foundation and can be found in Our Reports section of the website.
For more information:
AFGC, James Mathews: 0407 416 002
WWF-Australia, Kate Rayson: 0439 959 034
Net Balance Foundation, Cameron Neil: 0402 072 452