Market analyses palm oil use in Europe


Recently, the Round table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has set regional targets for market uptake of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). For 2020, the target for Europe is to reach 100%, for Malaysia and Indonesia 50%, India 30%, and China 10%. 

To develop a strategy to successfully transform the market, we need market insights. So far, we have used Oil World data and Eurostat data for import and export into the different countries in Europe to understand where the large volumes are “used”. For certain countries, there is more information on the use in the different industries but this is not consistent and most often not detailed enough.

We would benefit from gaining more quantitative insights into the palm oil, palm kernel oil and derivatives market in Europe. For example, Italy and Spain are large importers of palm oil and we assume that most is consumed by the biofuel and energy market but more detailed analyses are needed. Once we have the market intelligence we can plan our outreach activities to encourage industries, policy makers and retailers to stimulate market transformation to sustainable palm oil.


Palm oil trades 

This study should focus on the top 10 countries in terms of palm oil imports: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Spain, and Poland. Oil World data and Eurostat data covers all palm (kernel) oil imports, exports, and domestic consumption but a split between non-certified and certified volumes is not possible as customs codes are the same


Sustainable palm oil 

RSPO has four supply chain models for the trade of sustainable oil palm products; Book & Claim (facilitated by GreenPalm), MB, SG, and IP. RSPO certified mills and refineries report trades of sustainable palm oil but this does not give enough insights to the use in the different markets and countries. Ordinary and affiliate members of the RSPO report their progress annually in the Annual Communication of Progress report (ACOP). For the next reporting period (reporting over 2015), the members will be asked to report on a more regional basis, that means for example, splitting data for Europe, China, South East Asia and India. Currently, we do not have this data. 


National Commitments 

In Europe, we have different countries where industries have come together to form a National Commitment (NC) to reach 100% of sustainable palm oil by a certain date. Some of these NCs (NL, Be, UK, Ge) report their progress and this data should be used while differences in methodology should be taken into account. Other NCs would benefit from this market analysis study as no data is available



The project should start with an analysis of the available data (see references). This should be complemented with interviews and possibly the purchase of other databases to gain insights into the use of sustainable and conventional palm (kernel) oil and derivatives in the top 10 countries and different industries. A list of companies and involved industry associations on National level and EU level that use and can drive uptake of sustainable palm oil should also be generated. 



  • A report of import, export, consumption* data per industry**, for the top 10 countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Spain, Poland) for conventional and sustainable trades. Imports of processed products that contain palm oil, palm kernel oil or derivatives can be excluded from this study
  • Trends over the last 5 years, if possible forecasts
  • A map illustrating import, export, and intra-EU trades
  • Separate conventional and sustainable oils
  • A report on (interviewed) companies and involved industry associations in the top 10 countries
  • Analysis of EU sustainable palm (kernel) oil and derivatives uptake share by RSPO members vs non-RSPO members

*palm oil, palm kernel oil, and their derivatives used in production of goods in that country 

**Industries can be separated into: 

  1. Food
  2. Feed
  3. Biofuels, Energy
  4. Oleochemical (=Home and Personal Care, detergents)
  5. Technical applications

Consultant credentials 

For this project, we seek a consultant that can gather this market intelligence, using available data as the starting point, potentially purchase other data, and conduct interviews for further insights into the different industries in the top 10 countries.

The analysis needs to be done for palm oil, palm kernel oil, and their derivatives separately as much as feasible. Palm kernel expeller (or meal) is excluded because this data is largely available and consumption is mainly by the feed industry.

The RSPO secretariat is searching for an independent consultancy firm with a good reputation in market intelligence studies. Also, it is very important to find a credible organisation for the interviews with companies that use palm (kernel) oil and derivatives in their production. Companies should feel confident that this firm will keep all data confidential. The RSPO will only publish the aggregated data, trends and conclusions.


Tender procedure 

Interested parties should show their expertise in this field, specify the methodology that will be chosen for this project and costs. 


Timeline for project 

Publish for tender: September 22, 2015 
Start project: Mid October, 2015
Present framework: 2 weeks
First draft report: 3 months
Final report:  4 months



The project will be managed by Inke van der Sluijs, Technical Manager Europe in close collaboration with colleagues from the RSPO secretariat 


Interested parties should submit their proposal by October 9, 2015 to [email protected]



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