Do Palm Oil Sustainability Certifications Deliver their Promises? A Review
Hazal Akçakara, Tina Beuchelt
University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF), Ecology and Natural Resources Management, Germany
Oil palm cultivation has been spreading massively in South East Asia, Central and West Africa, and Central America. Being high-yielding crops, they provide farmers with good profit margins and are attractive for the industry as the cheap palm oil can be used for a large diversity of products, e.g. cooking oil, personal care and cleaning products or biofuels. The downsides of production are negative effects on the environment and society such as deforestation, habitat destruction, green-house gas emissions, and human right offenses. Concerns about negative impacts on local food security are also raised. Therefore, palm oil sustainability certifications were introduced in the last decade and aim to address these challenges. Since the oil palm sector continues to be under critique, this research reviews scientific and grey literature for the sustainability challenges in the oil palm production and how far they are successfully addressed by certification systems. It focuses specifically on the impacts of the sustainability certifications on the environment, human rights and food security.
Keywords: Certification, food security, human rights, oil palm, sustainability
Contact Address: Tina Beuchelt, University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF), Ecology and Natural Resources Management, Genscherallee 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany, e-mail: beucheltuni-bonn.de