Supporting detail:

Using sustainably produced palm oil

Palm oil is the world’s most used vegetable oil, and global consumption is increasing. It is used in food, animal feed, soap and cosmetics, and to produce biodiesel. It can be produced at higher volumes per unit area of land than other vegetable oils. Unsustainable palm oil production is often linked to deforestation and peatland drainage, mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia. This has major impacts on biodiversity, climate change and also land rights for local people.

UK statement on palm oil

Organisations in the UK that use palm oil have agreed to work towards 100% sourcing of credibily certified sustainable palm oil by 2015. In October 2012, trade associations for palm oil using sectors, the government and the World Wildlife Fund agreed a UK statement on sustainable palm oil.

We published a one year progress report, including details of new signatories, alongside an estimate of UK palm oil consumption in October 2013. This estimated that in 2012 between 52% and 60% of palm oil used in the UK that was certified sustainable.

We have now published a second UK progress report which shows achievements from each organisation in the last year and an update of the estimates of UK sustainable palm oil consumption for 2013. The new report estimated that in 2013 between 55% and 71% of UK palm oil imports were supported by RSPO certification.

What we are doing

We are signed up to UK statement on sustainable palm oil and are taking a number of steps to encourage the move to sustainable sourcing. This includes:

  • providing an advice and information service on sustainable palm oil for UK businesses and government procurers including online information, newsletters and seminars. CPET can be contacted on 01305 236 100, or email
  • amending the Government Buying Standard (GBS) for food and catering to include a new requirement about sourcing sustainable palm oil, palm kernel oil and derivatives. All food and catering products bought by central government must meet sustainability requirements by 2015.
  • implementing mandatory EU requirements, notably the Renewable Energy Directive sustainability criteria which apply to palm oil used for bio-fuels in transport and power, and the requirements for palm oil labelling in the Food Information for Consumers Regulation.
  • working with the organisations involved in the national statement to monitor the progress made in delivering their commitments, and the overall progress towards achieving 100% sustainable palm oil sourcing in the UK.
  • encouraging other consumer nations in Europe and more widely to take action to switch to sourcing sustainable palm oil, including by taking part in meetings with representatives of other existing and prospective national commitments.
  • continuing to deliver DFID’s £250million 10 year Forest Governance, Markets & Climate Programme which aims to reduce the production of illegally sourced commodities including palm oil.