The Colombian Federation of Palm Oil Growers (FEDEPALMA), alongside large buyers in the country’s domestic palm oil market and multiple key players in the supply chain have signed a joint declaration to advance the support, purchase and promotion of sustainable palm oil in Colombia.

Bogota, Colombia, 21 September 2022  – In a formidable show of support, FEDEPALMA and Solidaridad gathered key players of the country’s palm oil industry to sign a joint declaration, “Colombia compra aceite de palma sostenible” (Colombia buys sustainable palm oil), advancing the support, purchase, and promotion of sustainable palm oil in the country. RSPO joined several of its members in signing the collaboration agreement during a forum hosted by business newspaper Portafolio in cooperation with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Cooperación Alemana and Iniciativa Cadenas Agrícolas Sostenibles (INCAS).

Recognising the vital role that palm oil plays in Colombia, the joint commitment is built around three areas: scaling up sectorial efforts  to increase sustainable palm oil production, boosting the procurement of sustainable palm oil in Colombia and ensuring its traceability from supplier to buyer, and stimulating the demand through awareness raising amongst consumers. The joint declaration was signed by: Alianza Team, Bio D, Del Llano Alto Oleico, Fedepalma, Grupo Hada, OleoFlores, Solidaridad and RSPO. 

Diego Pierrend, RSPO Latin America Technical Manager, said “Colombia is in a unique position to be not only the continent´s largest producer, but also to become a beacon of sustainability in Latin America. Today’s joint declaration is an encouraging sign of collective action bolstering the growth of sustainable palm oil in the country, which is crucial in ensuring the conservation of Colombia’s natural resources and reducing rural poverty through sustainable livelihoods for small-scale farmers.”

Historic year for palm oil 

“2021 was a historic year as we closed with a record production of 1.75 million tonnes of crude palm oil, 70% of which was sold domestically and 30% was exported,” said Nicolás Pérez, Executive President of Fedepalma.  

In 2021, Colombia consumed 1.2 million tonnes in the domestic market, equivalent to 71% of its total annual sales, highlighting the significance of national industry and consumers for further growth in the uptake of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), since most of its exports (98%) to EU is compliant with voluntary sustainability standards.

Peréz added, “Colombia seeks to be a role model applying the highest standards of sustainability; 30% of Colombian palm oil is already certified – certification is the final stage of the entire process that gives consumers the confidence that palm oil has complied with social and environmental sustainability standards, and will help Colombian smallholders access international markets.” 

“This is the first domestic market agreement in a palm oil producing country, which is crucial within a global perspective where over 50% of total production is consumed within the borders of its origin. The collective action will benefit smallholders in particular, since they make up over 80% of the palm oil producers, but has the biggest gap to bridge in the coming years to become compliant” said Joel Brounen, Colombia’s Country Manager of Solidaridad.

Latin America’s momentum

Colombia’s efforts to advance sustainable palm oil consolidates Latin America’s sustainability momentum – according to the ACOP 2021 report, among the five main palm growing countries and regions, Latin American growers continue to perform well with 27% of the region’s total production as CSPO and a further potential 43% are in line for certification.   In 2022, one third of the palm oil produced in the Latin American region complies with the RSPO Principles and Criteria, which has positioned Latin America as a leader in the production of sustainable palm oil globally. 

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