Sat, 24 Jan 2009
From: Reuters
Indonesia Musim Mas gets green palm oil certificate

JAKARTA, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Indonesia's PT Musim Mas has been certified as the country's first firm to have adopted stricter sustainability standards in producing palm oil, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said on Wednesday.

Five other crude palm companies from world's biggest producer of the commodity are currently in the process of getting certificates, he said.

Under fire from green groups and some Western consumers, the palm oil industry established the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004 to develop an ethical certification system, including commitments to preserve rainforests and wildlife.

In order to promote the production and use of sustainably produced palm oil, the RSPO has developed a set of standards called the RSPO principles and criteria (P&C), addressing legal, economic, environmental and social requirements of producing sustainable palm oil.

The first sale of the certified products hit the market last November with a shipment from Malaysia to Rotterdam. The 500 tonne shipment was produced by United Plantations (UTPS.KL), with Unilever (ULVR.L) and Britain's third largest grocer J. Sainsbury (SBRY.L) among the buyers.

A host of products on an average supermarket's shelves contain palm oil, ranging from margarines and biscuits to lipsticks, shampoo and detergents.

The issue of "green" palm remains contentious and some conservation groups argue that the current voluntary rules are ineffective in protecting the environment.

Indonesia and Malaysia, with more than 4 percent of the world's rainforests, produce nearly 85 percent of total palm oil.

Industry officials have projected the sale of certified sustainable palm oil to reach around 1 million tonnes this year, or just about 2.6 percent of the total output of Indonesia and Malaysia. (Reporting by Aloysius Bhui; Editing by Peter Blackburn)



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