Palm oil – What WWF is doing?





Clearing land for oil palm plantations threatens some of the world’s most valuable forests and the species that rely on them for survival, such as endangered orang-utans, tigers, rhinos and elephants. It also releases large volumes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and puts forest-dwelling people at risk.

WWF is working on a number of fronts to tackle these problems. By applying stringent criteria to all stages of palm oil production and manufacture, we believe oil palm can provide increased economic benefits to communities without further loss of tropical forests and species.


The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

© Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon

In 2003 WWF joined with palm oil producers, palm oil buyers, and other environmental and social groups to establish the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO brings together palm oil growers, processors, manufacturers, retailers, NGOs and investors to transform the way that palm oil is produced, traded and consumed globally.

Read more on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.


Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO)

© Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon

If growers follow the standards of the RSPO and if buyers of palm oil support these growers by purchasing Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO ), then we can begin to halt the devastating loss of forests and tropical species associated with this popular vegetable oil.

Want to know more about Certified Sustainable Palm Oil?


The Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard

© 06photo / Shutterstock.com

In 2009 and 2010, WWF turned the spotlight on major European and Australian companies by ranking their palm oil buying practices. Our research showed that while some companies were making serious efforts to source more sustainable palm oil, others were failing to address the environmental and social issues associated with palm oil production.

We repeated the exercise again in 2011 and 2013, read more about our Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard.


Boycotting palm oil

Are boycotts the answer?


Boycotts might feel satisfying… but they’re not the answer to unsustainable palm oil.

Use your consumer power and tell your favourite brands and retailers to use only certified palm oil.

Learn more about Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).

Engaging companies and consumers

WWF has developed a set of recommendations to help companies that buy palm oil reduce their role in deforestation. These are outlined in the Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2013 and include:

1. Join the RSPO and be an active member;

2. Commit to sourcing 100% CSPO by 2015;

3. Be transparent about their palm oil use;

4. For retailers, go beyond own-brand commitments and take responsibility for making sure that all palm oil in the products they sell is from sustainable sources;

5. Buy from certified RSPO member growers that are going beyond the basic requirements of the RSPO Principles and Criteria.


For a full list of recommendations, see the Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2013.

WWF has also developed a list of recommendations for consumers, which include:

1. Ask companies to commit to purchase only segregated, certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO);

2. Support companies who are committed to purchasing CSPO;

3. Ask companies to show when they are moving towards CSPO.

Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard  
	© WWF International
The 2013 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard assesses the performance of 130 major retailers, food service companies and consumer goods and other manufacturers worldwide on their use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).

Download the scorecard.

Palm oil in the Heart of Borneo

Recommendations for sustainable palm oil in the Heart of Borneo:
Oil palm plantations dominate large parts of Borneo’s landscape. Today there are over 3.6 million hectares of oil palm plantations across an area that was once lowland tropical forest.

WWF recognises that the palm oil industry can be a major contributor to economic and social development in Borneo. However, without appropriate planning and regulation, oil palm expansion could threaten the long-term environmental and social wellbeing of the region.

• Government planners should ensure that agricultural concessions are not allocated in high conservation value areas of the Heart of Borneo, but rather on degraded land, and always in close consultation with local communities and stakeholders.

• Sustainable production, independently certified through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)), will deliver improved social and environmental performance on both existing and new plantations.

• Investors, traders and consumers should help drive improved plantation management by financing and sourcing only from certified sustainable palm oil production.

Global consumption of palm oil has increased tenfold since 1980 and now stands at around 50 million ... 
	© Tim Cronin
Global consumption of palm oil has increased tenfold since 1980 and now stands at around 50 million tonnes per year, with some forecasts of 50 per cent further growth by 2050.
© Tim Cronin