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Can palm oil be made sustainable?

Dissertation presentation

Jess Beswick

on 17 April 2014

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Transcript of Can palm oil be made sustainable?

Can Palm Oil be made

Jessica Beswick
Biosciences Student Conference May 2013

Palm oil (Eleais guineensis) is an equatorial crop predominantly used as a food sources and a biofuel.

From 2000 - 2010 global production increased from 20 to 50 million tonnes.

Malaysian palm oil company Felda Global Ventures obtained income of US$ 3.2 billion in 2012.

Palm oil chosen for its high yield and cheap production costs.
EU aims to have 20% of its energy consumption from biofuels and increase share of biofuels to 10% petrol consumption by 2020.
Over 85% of palm oil is produced
in Malaysia and Indonesia.

2 of the World's 34 biodiversity
hotspots are in these regions.

Forest loss concentrated in Sumatra and Kalimantan, where 90% of areas converted to palm oil plantations were forest.

Around 45% of Indonesian forest has already been lost, mainly to palm oil.

This has lead to a significant loss in biodiversity: only 23% and 31% of vertebrate and invertebrate species in forest respectively were found in palm oil plantations .
Around 50% of packaged products in supermarkets contain palm oil.

It is usually listed as 'vegetable oil' under the ingredients.
Palm oil production is increasing more than any other vegetable oil.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

Up to 20% of anthropogenic carbon emissions stem from forest degradation and deforestation in tropical regions.

REDD is a mitigation strategy whereby countries can receive a monetary incentive for reducing their land based GHG emissions.

Investment of US$ 30 billion by 2020.

Competing with income from timber sales.
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
8 principles that companies must adhere to
should they wished to be classed as sustainable.

Aims to make palm oil sustainable and improve transparency within the industry.

14% of palm oil is RSPO certified.

Protect areas of high conservation value (HCV).
Issues with palm oil sustainability

Current approaches that aim to make palm oil sustainable

Discussion of what model could make palm oil sustainable
Clearing land for palm oil growth has contributed to up to 1/4 of Indonesia's land based emissions.

Carbon loss from deforestation creates a
carbon debt

More carbon is stored in forest and peatland than in palm oil plantations.

Measured by calculating the number of years (after conversion of land) required for cumulative biofuel GHG reductions, relative to the fossil fuels they replace, to repay the carbon lost.

If carbon were to be lost via conversion of forest to a palm oil plantation it would take 75 - 93 years for the carbon to be repaid.

The carbon debt for peatland conversion
however between 400 and 692 years.
Agroforestry: integration of forest/woody perennials into farming practices.

Mosaic landscape with diverse habitats (avoids monoculture).

Forest land that is not fragmented may allow for migrations.

As the palm oil industry expands to Cameroon and equatorial Africa.....

Blanket ban on deforestation and instead create plantations on degraded grassland (which has a carbon debt of only10 years).

Digging of peatland to 3 meters only (enforced?).

Clear definition and mapping of HCV areas from the RSPO.

Increased monitoring, reporting and verification from

Labeling of palm oil on products ingredients list
(to be implemented in January 2014).
Thank you for listening
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