Asian food and agribusiness Olam International says it has achieved Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification for the first oil palm plantation in Africa developed on 100% grassland.

The 38,363ha oil palm plantation, managed by Olam Palm Gabon – a joint venture with the Republic of Gabon – became Olam’s third to be RSPO certified, the company said on 2 May.

Mouila Lot 3’s total planted area was 18,272ha and 18,765ha of high conservation value (HCV) was being conserved. The RSPO’s greenhouse gas (GHG) calculator said the plantation would be expected to make a net positive climate impact by fixing 263,000 tonnes of CO2 over 25 years.

Olam’s total RSPO certified concession area was raised to 94,000ha after Mouila Lot 3’s certification (which also included renewed RSPO certification for the company’s Mouila Bilala palm oil mill).

The company said it had a production capacity of 74,000 tonnes of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and 13,000 tonnes of certified sustainable palm kernel oil (CSPKO), making it the largest in 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,” said Supramaniam Ramasamy, Olam’s global head of plantations.

The company said it remained on track to achieving RSPO for all of its plantations in Gabon by 2021.