Lethal smoke over Indonesia, forest fires out of control – these are catch lines keeping the raw material palm oil in the focus. Palm oil as a hugely important raw material playing a crucial role for worldwide nutrition. Palm oil can be found in numerous solutions for our customers, and also in strategic topics such as baby food. For quite some time now, there has been the option to purchase sustainable palm oil. The organisation standing for compliance with these standards is the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).
We have been a member of this organisation for many years. Since the beginning of this year, the share of sustainable palm oil in our procurement has been almost 90 per cent. Naturally, the influence of a single company on the RSPO is minor. Usually, conferences take place in Asia. Only a few German companies are able to participate. Against this background, the motivation to found FONAP emerged. A joint German voice at the RSPO, the members of which have committed themselves to exclusively use sustainable palm products. The second objective is to significantly help shape the development of the RSPO through FONAP. In this respect as well, Walter Rau AG acts as a role model for other companies. We play an active part when it comes to important global topics and we may be proud of it.
German companies want to take a stand for sustainable palm oil economics on an ongoing basis. At the fourth General Assembly of the “Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil (FONAP)” on November 11, 38 representatives from the palm oil processing industry, non-governmental organisations, associations, and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) founded the registered society “Forum Nachhaltiges Palmöl e. V." (Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil)”. In the presence of Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, representatives from the WWF and a wide range of companies signed for their membership. The GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, German Society for International Cooperation) hosts the secretariat of FONAP. With the foundation of the society in Berlin, they have put the initiative now – about 10 years after its foundation – on an institutional basis.
Through the foundation of the society, the members put their previous self-commitment to exclusively use certified palm oil in an obligatory legal framework. This enables them to recognise their responsibility in global supply chains in a much more pronounced way and thus make their contribution to prevent palm oil from slash-and-burn land clearance from entering their own supply chains. Furthermore, the members commit themselves to continue the initiative for a more sustainable palm oil production on an ongoing basis also in terms of financing.
Federal Minister Christian Schmidt praises the foundation of the society: “I expect the economy to stop the import of non-certified palm oil. Becoming a member of FONAP gives every company the opportunity to comply with their responsibility for the environment and human rights in the context of palm oil. Exactly like the Forum for Sustainable Cocoa, the Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil is a lighthouse project for the responsible production of raw materials. They will act as a model for further soft commodities.“
Since the end of 2014, the FONAP members have been using exclusively certified palm oil in their products. “The foundation of the society enables us to even better exert leverage on the certification systems and thus ensure their further improvement. Despite all criticism, certification systems are a first step towards sustainable palm oil. Moreover, through the society, we can give our members better support in reshaping their own supply chains,” rejoices the Secretary General of the forum, Daniel May. Only if all of us act in concert, like envisaged by FONAP, the manifold problems of palm oil cultivation can be solved. “For this purpose, we need as many companies to participate as possible.”
The Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil (FONAP) is an alliance of companies, associations, and non-governmental organisations – supported by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture – that aims at jointly developing sustainable solutions for improving the practices in the palm oil sector. The present 38 members of the Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil have signed a self-commitment to use 100% certified palm oil. The objective of FONAP is to improve existing certification systems and to increase the use of certified palm oil both at the national and international level.