This is an important question.
And so we are debating the issues around this conundrum on the site betterpalmoildebate.org, which I help run with Mallen Baker and Nadine Hawa for the RSPO.
It’s a showcase of different views from around the word, collected, collated, edited and promoted by us.
So how could the Latin American palm oil industry proceed in order to ensure a sizeable contribution to the sustainable palm oil market?
Here’s three perspectives:
As palm oil production spreads to Latin America from Southeast Asia, producers should consider the global criticism and market signals that are shaping the policies of Southeast Asian producers, says Sharon Smith.
By using existing suitable land which does not prompt forest clearance and by paying palm oil industry workers higher wages than Southeast Asian counterparts, the palm oil industry in Colombia checks most sustainability criteria, believes Jens Mesa-Dishington.
The use of degraded land for oil palm cultivation in Latin America is central to their sustainable production of the vegetable oil. While environmental impacts should be mitigated, social benefits should equally be considered, says John Garcia Ulloa.
Lots more debate on sustainable palm oil can be found here: http://betterpalmoildebate.org