Olam gains RSPO certification for Gabon grassland palm oil site

Global food and agri-business Olam International has achieved a reported industry first in achieving Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification for an entirely grassland-based plantation in Gabon, west central Africa.

The Mouila Lot 3 site, which is a 38,363 hectare facility which is managed by Olam Palm Gabon, a joint venture with the Republic of Gabon, represents a significant breakthrough for the business.

According to the company, the total planted area of the plantation is 18,272 ha and 18,765 ha of high conservation value (HCV) is being conserved (the remaining area is infrastructure including facilities, roads and housing).

Based on the RSPO GHG calculator, the plantation is expected to make a net positive climate impact by fixing 236,000 metric tonnes (MT) of CO2 over 25 years.

The RSPO certification supports Olam’s commitment set out in its Living Landscapes Policy to protect high carbon stock (HCS) and HCV areas and to support ‘living landscapes’ where prosperous farmers, thriving rural communities, and healthy ecosystems can coexist.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of implementing sustainable practices on our plantations that are positively contributing to protecting landscapes and to supporting communities in Gabon. This certification is the most recent milestone in our continued progress towards sustainable palm production and sourcing, both on our own plantations and through our third-party supply chain”, said Supramaniam Ramasamy, Olam’s global head of plantations.

This is the company’s third plantation to become RSPO certified and includes renewed RSPO certification for its Mouila Bilala palm oil mill. It brings Olam’s total RSPO certified concession area to 94,000 ha, making it the largest certified producer in Africa with a production capacity of 74,000 MT of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and 13,000 MT of certified sustainable palm kernel oil (CSPKO).

“We congratulate Olam on this huge achievement. This success nearly doubles the RSPO certified areas in all of Africa. It is our hope that this success will inspire more companies and countries in Africa to embark on the sustainable development of palm oil”, said Darrel Webber, CEO of the RSPO.

Olam Palm Gabon manages three plantation areas in Gabon with an overall concession area of 144,000 ha, with over 50% (72,000 ha) protected as an ecological network of HCV habitats including forests, wetlands and savannah. Since January 2017, Olam has upheld a moratorium on new plantation expansion in Gabon, and is committed to no further development or expansion until all its plantations achieve full RSPO certification in 2021.

The Company is committed to sustainable palm oil production and sourcing, both in its own plantations and through its third party supply chain, and its strong progress is set out in its 2018 Sustainable Palm Update.

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