Palm oil is a plantation crop extracted from the pulp of the oil palm. It is a highly versatile vegetable oil, which is grown in Asia, Africa and South America. However 85% of production currently comes from two countries: Indonesia and Malaysia. Palm oil now represents 33% of all vegetable oil production globally and is growing fast.
However many pressure groups are concerned at how Unilever and Nestle have been exploiting a scheme which allows palm oil to be purchased from unsustainable sources.
Under the scheme food producers can buy GreenPalm certificates to fulfill their sustainability obligations whilst continuing to buy plam oil in great volumes from plantations which are not run sustainably. This certification scheme has the backing of Roundtable on Sustainabile Palm Oil (RSPO).