Palm oil certifications

Which palm oil certifications can you trust? How do you know whether to buy or avoid any particular product that contains palm oil? Should you avoid all of them?

The short answer right now is that we should avoid most products that contain palm oil. However, there are some companies that do genuinely source sustainable palm and they are worth supporting for two main reasons:

  1. When palm oil is grown sustainably it provides some benefits, such as a high-yield (i.e., a smaller land footprint than most fats) and income for developing world farmers who practice sustainable agriculture.
  2. Purchasing products made with sustainable palm oil supports transformation of the entire palm oil industry and puts pressure on less ethical corporations to change.

But it’s important to correctly identify the companies that are sourcing sustainable palm oil – and those that fall short. I’ve previously covered the impact of palm oil but I want to update that in the next few posts. The next two posts are going to cover two products that I’ve reviewed on Ethical Bargains – one good and one bad:

  1. Nutiva palm oil, certified by Palm Done Right
  2. Earth Balance vegan butter, certified mainly by RSPO Palm Trace credits.

Then I’m going to take a look at Conagra Brands, the multinational food company that now makes Earth Balance. The posts will serve as examples on researching palm oil products and sorting out the good from the bad.

Here’s a quick illustrative guide to the main palm oil certifications, from good to bad. They’ll be explained more in the next two posts.

Palm Oil certifications. The image shows a range of certifications for palm oil. They are listed from good to bad in the order: Palm Done Right, Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), then four RSPO certification methods: Identity preserved, Segregated, Mass Balance (RSPO mixed), and Book and Claim (Palm Trace Credits)

That’s all for today! Please comment below if you’d like me to research any palm oil products or companies.

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