As part of ongoing efforts to increase the availability of sustainably sourced ingredients, Cargill will become one of North America’s first large-scale suppliers of segregated palm oil certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Beginning in December 2020, all palm oil production from the company’s Charlotte, N.C., refinery will be solely dedicated to providing the sustainably sourced product.
“Palm oil plays a critical role in feeding and supporting millions, as it is the world’s most widely used vegetable oil,” said Reid Kinde, North American commercial leader for Cargill’s global edible oils business. “With growing numbers of brands pledging to source palm oil responsibly, we are now positioned to supply North American food manufacturers with sufficient quantities of segregated RSPO-certified product to meet their sustainability commitments.”
The expanded supply means consumers soon may see the sustainable palm oil used in many of their favorite foods, including bakery items, snacks, confectionery and dairy products as well as non-dairy creamers.
Segregated certified palm oil must be produced according to the principles and criteria established by RSPO, which verifies that forests are protected and social and environmental safeguards are met during the oil’s production and harvest. To carry the segregated RSPO designation, all product must be kept separate from commodity palm oil supplies and be traceable throughout the supply chain. It is produced on RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil plantations, refined at RSPO-certified facilities and ultimately used by an RSPO-certified manufacturer.
Cargill has been supplying RSPO-certified palm oil since 2005 and now reaches customers in Europe, Mexico, Australia and Malaysia. However, this supply chain expansion further leverages Cargill’s global footprint and reflects growing demand for ethically sourced palm oil. In September, RSPO reported that sales of certified palm oil increased 13% globally in 2019 alone.
Previously, Cargill offered its North American customers mass-balanced sustainable palm oil. With the new segregated sustainable palm oil offering, the company said manufacturers can be assured that the palm oil they purchase and utilize comes only from RSPO-certified sustainable sources.
Cargill’s move to ramp up RSPO-certified palm oil comes as the company nears its goal of providing traceability to all palm plantations in high-risk landscapes and marks an important milestone in advancing its progress and action plan on sustainable palm oil production. The plan details the company’s commitment to transparent sourcing practices, engaged suppliers and rigorous monitoring and verification practices. In its annual sustainability report, released in June 2020, Cargill outlined its progress in working with smallholder palm farmers across more than 10 countries to deliver sustainable palm oil to hundreds of customers worldwide.
“More than ever, brands and consumers care about the standards behind the products they buy,” Kinde said. “People want assurance that the raw materials used are sourced in a sustainable, environmentally conscious way. By significantly increasing the supply of segregated certified-sustainable palm oil, we’re giving our customers and consumers confidence in our sourcing practices and reaffirming our commitment to supporting sustainable practices throughout our operations.”