Assistant Manager Technical & Food Safety Affairs Global Agri-Trade Corporation
With world population projected to increase to 9.7 billon by 2050, demand for oils and fats will increase by 250 mil MT from the current level of 228.5 mil MT. The oil palm, notorious for its highest oil yield amongst all oil crops, cultivated for its palm oil is seen as one of the solutions to address the demand without substantial increase in crop land hectarage. At the same time, as oil palm is ideally grown in the tropics, the conversion of land under tropical rainforest in growing regions has generated a debate about its sustainability. The consensus has been while palm oil is needed to feed the growing population, its growth needs to be done in an environmentally responsible manner strictly guided by sustainable standards. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of global oils and fats scenario with special emphasis on palm oil, introduce the issues surrounding palm oil sustainability and to discuss the development of key sustainable standards for palm oil that are currently in practice and new ones expected to come onstream soon; namely the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO).