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Japan makers face slippery slope in procuring sustainable palm oil

Transition to RSPO-certified product proves out of reach for most companies

A palm oil plantation in Indonesia: Growers in Indonesia and Malaysia account for more than 80% of global output. (Photo courtesy of Kao)

TOKYO -- Nine Japanese makers have declared that by the end of the year, all palm oil they use will be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, as international criticism against poor environmental practices at plantations and producers continues to grow.

Palm oil is found in a wide variety of food and daily-use products. The makers' pledge signals a step forward in their awareness about protecting the environment. However, most Japanese companies still mix conventional palm oil with RSPO-certified oil -- a blend that is anathema to many European companies.

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