Why Palm Oil Needs a Multistakeholder Approach to Become More Sustainable

Palm oil can be found in close to 50% of the packaged products we find in supermarkets. It’s up to 10 times more productive than grapeseed or sunflower oils — covering only about 7% of the world’s arable land while producing 40% of its vegetable oil. This makes it an attractive crop for many smallholder farmers, who can rely on the steady income it provides. With so many uses and growing consumer demand, global palm oil production has tripled since the start of the century, mainly driven by expansion in Indonesia and Malaysia, the largest producing countries.

However, palm oil production is also one of the major drivers of global deforestation and consequently of biodiversity loss, including of endangered species such as the orangutan. The loss of forests — coupled with the conversion of carbon-rich peat soils — contribute to increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and ultimately, to global warming.

The production of more sustainable palm oil is possible and there is an important role for companies, smallholder farmers, governments, civil society, and consumers to play in that transition. Well-planned and managed production can provide improved incomes and employment for farmers and groups along the supply chain.

Consumers and regulators are increasingly demanding traceability and promoting the consumption of “deforestation-free” products, requiring more transparency from third-party suppliers and manufacturers. Certifications ensuring sustainable production are crucial. But 40% of the world’s palm oil is produced by small-scale farmers that may not always have the know-how or the resources needed to meet certification requirements.

This event, hosted by Devex in partnership with Golden Agri-Resources, will explore how a multistakeholder approach — with smallholder farmers at the center — can help ensure more sustainable palm oil production. It will also discuss the role of improving transparency and traceability in the supply chain to help tackle deforestation — and ensure that more sustainable and effective farming methods are available to all.

Time: 11 A.M. CET/5 P.M. GMT+7

Location: Virtual

Date: Monday, March 21, 2022