Global agribusiness giant Cargill is expanding its segregated sustainable palm oil capacity in North America, the company announced on 11 November.

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase the availability of sustainably-sourced ingredients, Cargill said it would become one of the region’s first large-scale supplier of segregated palm oil certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

All palm oil production from the company’s Charlotte, North Carolina refinery will be solely dedicated to providing the sustainably-sourced product from December 2020.

“With growing numbers of brands pledging to source palm oil responsibly, we are now positioned to supply North American food manufacturers with sufficient quantities of segregated RSPO-certified product to meet their sustainability commitments,” said Reid Kinde, North American commercial leader for Cargill’s global edible oils business.

Segregated certified palm oil must be produced according to RSPO principles and criteria, which verifies that forests are protected, and social and environmental safeguards are met during the oil’s production and harvest.

To carry the segregated RSPO designation, the product must be kept separate from commodity palm oil supplies and be traceable throughout the supply chain. It must be produced on RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil plantations, refined at RSPO-certified facilities and used by a RSPO certified manufacturer.

Cargill said it had been supplying RSPO-certified palm oil since 2005, and was now reaching customers in Europe, Mexico, Australia and Malaysia. However, the latest expansion of its supply chain reflected growing demand for ethically-sourced palm oil.

In September, RSPO had reported that sales of certified palm oil had increased by 13% in 2019, Cargill said.

Cargill had previously offered its North American customers’ mass-balanced sustainable palm oil.

The move goes alongside Cargill’s aim to provide traceability to all palm plantations in high-risk landscapes.

In its annual sustainability report released in June, Cargill had outlined its progress working with smallholder palm farmers across more than 10 countries to deliver palm oil globally.

“By significantly increasing the supply of segregated, certified sustainable palm oil, we’re giving our customers and consumers’ confidence in our sourcing practices and reaffirming our commitment to supporting sustainable practices throughout our operations,” said Kinde.