Sustainable palm production: Olam achieves RSPO certification for first oil palm plantation in Africa

17 May 2019

palm oil

Global food and agri-business Olam International has achieved Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification for its Mouila Lot 3 palm plantation in Gabon, Africa, developed on 100 percent grassland – and the company remains on track to achieve RSPO certification for all its plantations in Gabon by 2021.

“We are at the forefront of implementing sustainable practices on our plantations that are positively contributing to protecting landscapes and to supporting communities in Gabon,” Supramaniam Ramasamy, Olam’s Global Head of Plantations explains. 

“This certification is the most recent milestone in our continued progress towards sustainable palm production and sourcing, both on our own plantations and through our third-party supply chain.”

The 38,363 hectare (ha) palm plantation, which is managed by Olam Palm Gabon – a joint venture with the Republic of Gabon – is the first oil palm plantation in Africa to be developed on 100 percent grassland area. The total planted area of the plantation is 18,272 ha and 18,765 ha of high conservation value (HCV) is being conserved (the remaining area is infrastructure including facilities, roads and housing). Based on the RSPO GHG calculator, the plantation is expected to make a net positive climate impact by fixing 236,000 metric tons (MT) of CO2 over 25 years. 

The RSPO certification supports Olam’s commitment set out in its Living Landscapes Policy to protect high carbon stock (HCS) and HCV areas and also to support living landscapes where farmers, thriving rural communities and healthy ecosystems can coexist.

This is the company’s third plantation to become RSPO-certified and includes renewed RSPO certification for its Mouila Bilala palm oil mill. It brings Olam’s total RSPO-certified concession area to 94,000 ha, making it the largest certified producer in Africa with a production capacity of 74,000 MT of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and 13,000 MT of certified sustainable palm kernel oil (CSPKO). 

“We congratulate Olam on this huge achievement, which almost doubles the RSPO-certified areas in all of Africa. We hope that this success will inspire more companies and countries in Africa to embark on the sustainable development of palm oil,” says Darrel Webber, CEO of the RSPO.

Olam Palm Gabon manages three plantation areas in Gabon with an overall concession area of 144,000 ha, with more than 50 percent (72,000 ha) protected as an ecological network of HCV habitats including forests, wetlands and savannah. 

Since January 2017, Olam has upheld a moratorium on new plantation expansion in Gabon and is committed to no further development or expansion until all its plantations achieve full RSPO certification in 2021.

The company says it is committed to sustainable palm oil production and sourcing, both in its own plantations and through its third party supply chain, and its progress is set out in its 2018 Sustainable Palm Update. 

Published by FoodIngredientsFirst on May 2, 2019


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