Oil palm estates can only be grown in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia, Africa and South America. Because of the rapid growth in worldwide demand for edible vegetable oils since 1990 there has been a corresponding increase in land which is used for the production of soya oil in South America and palm oil (elsewhere). Land applied for palm oil cultivation is estimated by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to have grown by 43% over the period. The majority of this activity has taken place in Indonesia and Malaysia (the largest producers of palm oil).
The expansion has put pressure on the environment and within the societies where it has taken place. Consequently there is concern that palm oil is not always being produced sustainably, that the demand for larger plantations has led to de-forestation in important conservation areas, and that there have been significantly adverse effects on areas which are rich in biodiversity.
These factors have led to a significant growth in demand for sustainable CPO. More information about the Company’s aim to working towards sustainable CPO, its related policies, management systems and case studies can be found within the sustainable development section of this website. This section also contains information about the Company’s membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
Sustainable CPO is priced at a premium to standard CPO. The demand for sustainable CPO is growing quickly as major companies are committed to policies that ensure that they purchase only certified sustainable CPO. Examples are many well known European retailers such as Asda (Walmart), Boots, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Royal Ahold, Carrefour and IKEA. They have been joined by leading food producers such as Allied Bakeries, Heinz, Nestlé, Henkel and Unilever. They also include other well known companies from other sectors such as L’Oréal and Reckitt Benckiser.
Indonesia and Malaysia produce around 85% of the world’s palm oil and are the largest exporters. However there are limitations on new land areas in these key territories. EPO’s presence in Liberia presents it with a significant commercial opportunity to address the increasing world demand for sustainable palm oil.
More information about EPO’s commitment to the production and marketing of certified sustainable palm oil in Liberia can be found within the sustainability section of this website.