CIFOR News: In complex palm industry, “certified sustainable” falls short

 

 

Cameroon - As global demand for palm oil has grown in recent years, so has consumer concern over deforestation caused by expanding plantations. In response, the industry devised systems for certifying “sustainably produced” palm oil, but they haven’t been as effective as expected.

 

 

Certification systems, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, aim to address the environmental, social and economic factors that are commonly considered the three pillars of sustainability.

 

 

The idea behind certification is that palm oil produced according to certain standards can command a higher price in the market, creating an incentive for growers to implement measures that will ensure sustainable production systems and notably reduce deforestation.

 

 

But global certification falls short, because it takes a one-size-fits-all approach to a complex industry that varies not only between countries, but also within countries and among types of producers, according to a new study by researchers from the International Center for Forestry Research (CIFOR), the French Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), and the French agricultural research center CIRAD.

 

 

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