Sustainable group certifies palm oil plantation

by Jeff Gelski
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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (R.S.P.O.) has certified United Plantations Bhd, a Malaysian palm oil company, with its Certificate of Conformance to R.S.P.O. Principles and Criteria, according to the American Palm Oil Council.

The R.S.P.O. defines sustainable palm oil production as "comprised of legal, economically viable, environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial management and operations." United Plantations Bhd participated in investigations of its nine estates, six mills and conservation areas; interviews with management, staff and workers about management systems and social amenities; and a meeting with 150 of the company’s stakeholders to ensure the plantation fulfills each of the RSPO criteria.

The R.S.P.O. report applauded United Plantations’ Lagoon Nature Reserve, a planting project that contains 18 tree families, 50 species and more than 200 trees.

"We want our consumers here in the U.S. to know that palm oil purchased in Malaysia is produced in a responsible, environmentally-friendly manner," said Mohd Salleh Kassim, executive director of the American Palm Oil Council, a U.S. association representing the Malaysian palm oil industry.

The R.S.P.O.’s executive board includes officers from palm oil growers, processors and traders; consumer goods manufacturers; retailers; banks and investors; environmental and nature conservation groups; and social and development groups. Jan Kees Vis, Sustainable Agriculture Director, Foods, for Unilever, is president of the R.S.P.O. Unilever in May announced plans to have all of its palm oil certified sustainable by 2015.

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