Using sustainable palm oil

Project description


Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil

Commissioned by:

Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe (FNR) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)



Overall term:

2013 to 2015


Almost half of all supermarket products contain palm oil, including margarine, packet soups, ice cream, candles, washing powders, lipsticks and skin creams. Palm oil production can have a disastrous impact as rainforests are often cleared and destroyed in the process. Sustainable certification with internationally recognised certification systems such as the International Sustainability Carbon Certification (ISCC) or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) ensures that countries producing palm oil do so more sustainably.

Producers, however, often suffer because they are unable to sell their more expensive certified goods. This is because there is a lack of demand for them in consumer countries. Many businesses that use palm oil in their products need support in switching to certified palm oil.

The use of certified palm oil helps to reduce the disastrous impact of palm oil production. If businesses use 100-per cent segregated, certified palm oil, they can be sure that these products come only from certified sources and that the palm oil was produced without causing any destruction. The aim is to ensure that only certified palm oil is imported into Germany.


There is a significant increase in the proportion of segregated, certified palm oil and palm kernel oil or its corresponding derivatives on the German, Austrian and Swiss markets. 100-per cent segregated, certified palm oil and palm kernel oil are available in these markets.


The Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil helps businesses to switch to certified palm oil. The Forum’s main tasks are to inform the public about sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil, devise viable solutions for sourcing and using 100-per cent certified palm oil as soon as possible, develop proposals for improving existing certification systems and establish transparency about the amounts of palm oil that are used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Members of the Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil have made a public commitment that, by the end of 2014, they will use only certified, sustainably produced palm oil and will appropriately certify all ingredients made from palm kernel oil. Together with other campaigns, this will ensure that 100-per cent segregated and certified palm oil and palm kernel oil and its corresponding derivatives are available as soon as possible.

The Forum grew out of an initiative led by Henkel, the REWE Group, Unilever and WWF. The Forum members are involved in business, commerce and civil society (such as non-governmental organisations and associations). GIZ hosts the Forum’s secretariat.


At the end of 2014, around 50 per cent of the 1.5 million tonnes of palm oil in Germany was certified.

The 42 members of the Forum use only 100-per cent certified palm oil and therefore clearly set themselves apart from the norm in Germany. More companies need to follow this example and make the necessary changes to their purchasing and procurement practices to ensure that only certified palm oil is used in Germany.

A large number of palm oil producers have voluntarily committed to meeting additional criteria. Details of the current situation are available on the Forum’s website.

Further information