New global standard promotes sustainable palm oil production

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Boycotting palm oil no effective solution

The Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), whose members include a large number of NGOs, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Oxfam Novib and Solidaridad, this week agreed a newstandard for the production of palm oil. ABN AMRO is also a member of the RSPO, which is working to make the production of palm oil more sustainable. 

The aim of the new standard is to combat further deforestation and to enhance the protection of human rights in the fields of palm oil production where needed – not by getting out of the production of palm oil, as some NGOs advocate, but by engaging with companies and bringing influence to bear. 

In the Netherlands, we use scores of products containing palm oil on a daily basis, and consumption per Dutch person is estimated at some 16 litres of palm oil per year. So instead of excluding producers, we prefer to take an inclusive approach in making the production of palm oil more sustainable.

Calling for a boycott of palm oil is not realistic, as it is used in a multitude of products and it offers employment to millions of people in developing countries. We see eye to eye on this issue with, among others, the WWF, which has set out its viewson the agreement on the new RSPO standard.

ABN AMRO explicitly excludes land grabbing and illegal deforestation, two important potential negative impacts of irresponsible palm oil production. We don’t want anything to do with these practices. Go to the ABN AMRO website for these policies, which incidentally were classed as the best in the financial industry by Greenpeace last year (on page 59 of this report). Illegal deforestation and human rights violations are on our exclusion list.


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