RSPO Social Research

We firmly believe in the idea that sustainable palm oil production is the most sensible step forward in regard to palm oil products until we are able to harness a vegetable oil source even more productive than palm oil.  There is certainly work underway elsewhere to try to extract edible vegetable oil from algae, which could be far more productive, leading to a massively decreased demand on new production sites.  However, this work is still being researched, so we want to try and help make buying sustainably more effective and easier for the consumer.

The easiest way, at the moment to know what is in your products is to look out for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil logo on the packaging, however there are a couple of points which we think make this more difficult than it sounds:

  1. Even if you are certified you don’t have to use the logo on your packaging.  We think that you should want to, but this is not a requirement.  As a result you could be looking for a product which is sustainable and go straight past one which would qualify and never know.
  2. A company doesn’t have to be 100% sustainable in order to get a certificate from RSPO, and seeing exactly how much of their palm oil is sustainably produced is not as easy as just looking on the certificate.
  3. Some of the language on the various trademarks which are available are a little confusing.  When confronted with a sticker which says certified sustainable palm oil and then credits underneath, does this give the consumer any real idea of what is in the product, and does it possibly even go as far as allowing people to think they are getting something which isn’t as good as they think when it comes to their own beliefs and values?

We wanted to find out whether these points are valid ones or whether it is just us who have been left just a little confused by an accreditation system which we absolutely love and want to see grow and improve, making it something which every producer should strive to be a part of.

In order to do this we have devised a very simple questionnaire (it covers 3 questions at the most) which takes a couple of minutes to complete.  This was the cornerstone of a piece of research which we carried out, the results of which can be downloaded in PDF format below:

The Effectiveness of the RoundTable on Sustainable Palm Oil Certification System for Helping Consumers Make Informed Decisions