Rabobank: make sustainable palm oil the norm

There is both potential and urgency in the palm oil sector to achieve the transformation to sustainably produced palm oil. Rabobank would like to make an active contribution to this process, in conference with her customers. That is why Bas Rüter, Director of Sustainability at Rabobank, is presenting Rabobank’s vision ‘Make sustainable palm oil the norm’ to Lilianne Ploumen, Minister of Foreign Trade, in Jakarta today.

Palm oil is by far the most efficient oilseed crop per hectare. The demand for palm oil is expected to increase considerably in coming years (2014: 60 mill. tons -> 2020: 70-75 mill. tons). Worldwide, palm oil is an important food resource and the most commonly used vegetable oil. It is an ingredient found in 50% of all supermarket products. But the increased production of palm oil has also resulted in serious sustainability issues, such as the clearing of tropical rain forests and the loss of biodiversity.

Rabobank is an important player in the palm oil sector and would like to use its Banking for Food strategy to actively contribute to solving the sustainability challenges of this sector. That is why since 2004, in cooperation with customers, the World Wildlife Fund and Oxfam Novib, the bank has been participating in a network of shareholders from the palm oil supply chain called the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO aims to have the production of palm oil meet all social, economic and environmental criteria in order to ensure a sustainable sector.

The Rabobank’s more sharply defined vision ‘Make sustainable palm oil the norm’ will be on the agenda on Tuesday 22 November. “For Rabobank, the refinement and publication of our vision of the palm oil sector is our first visible interpretation of the agreement on international corporate social responsibility (CSR), which was signed last month. It enables us to utilise our position within the sector to persuade all players in the chain to work more sustainably,” explains Bas Rüter. The bank not only expects its customers to meet the minimum requirements of the RSPO, but also supports them in refining their ambitions beyond these requirements in order to protect the environment and foster the economic independence of small farmers. As part of the Dutch government’s trade mission, Lilianne Ploumen will be receiving Rabobank’s vision during the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil on Tuesday, which will include all important shareholders from the Indonesian palm oil industry.


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