GABON – Olam International, a multinational food and agri-business company, has achieved Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification for its Mouila Lot 3 palm plantation in Gabon. 

RSPO, an organisation consisting of players in the palm oil industry, developed a set of environmental and social criteria which companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSO).

Mouila Lot 3 becomes Olam’s third RSPO certified plantation and the first oil palm plantation in Africa to be developed on 100% grassland area and includes renewed RSPO certification for its Mouila Bilala palm oil mill.

The certification supports Olam’s commitment set out in its Living Landscape Policy to protect high carbon stock (HCS) and high conservation value areas and to support sustainability of the environs.

The company operates the 38,363 hectare (ha) palm plantation through Olam Palm Gabon as a joint venture with the Republic of Gabon.

According to Olam, the total planted areas of the plantation is 18,272 ha and 18,765 ha of high conservation value (HCV) is being conserved.

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. 

“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,” said Supramaniam Ramasamy, Olam’s Global Head of Plantations

The certification brings Olam’s total RSPO certified concession area to 94,000 ha, making it the largest certified producer in Africa.

“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,” Supramaniam added.

The plantation has a production capacity of 74,000 metric tonnes of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and 13,000 metric tonnes of certified sustainable palm kernel oil (CSPKO). 

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.

“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, chief executive at RSPO.    

Olam said its remains committed to sustainable palm oil production and sourcing, both in its own plantations and through its third party supply chain.