Cargill, Solidaridad, Biocosta start sustainable palm oil program in Colombia

Cargill said it is launching its first Latin American foray focused on responsible palm oil production in Colombia with supply chain expertise provider Solidaridad and product exporter Biocosta.

Solidaridad Colombia is an international nonprofit promoting sustainability, while C.I. Biocosta serves as Cargill’s resource for mills and other production facilities, representing close to 50 percent of palm oil production in Colombia’s northern region.

Together with these two affiliates, Cargill said in a release it will encourage adoption of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil's Principles and Criteria (RSPO) to officially support the improvement of agriculture and farmers’ business in Colombia.

"This program supports Cargill's commitment to building a 100-percent transparent, traceable and sustainable palm supply chain by 2020," Robert Horster, global trading director for Cargill's Edible Oils Solutions, said in the release. "Our goal is to stimulate inclusion of Colombian farmers in the global palm oil market, boosting their livelihoods and establishing best practices in sustainable agriculture."

RSPO comprises international guidelines specifically crafted for the palm oil industry; as of 2014, 18 percent of international palm oil production was attributable to RSPO-certified growers. Palm oil is Colombia’s third leading crop after coffee and bananas.

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