Certified sustainable palm oil – really?

Palm trees2

One of many huge palm tree plantations in Costa Rica

I already wrote about seeing vast palm plantations in Costa Rica – both from the air and on the ground. I’ll be expanding on this soon as I interview an expert on the subject, so stay tuned for that.

But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to comment on a story that came out today, about “certified sustainable palm trade” and how large it’s grown since late 2008.

According to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), approximately forty million tons of palm oil is produced globally per year.

Granted what I’ve learned about the subject is insufficient to consider myself highly knowledgeable. Still, if it’s true that palm plantations are cut down and completely replanted every twenty years and that during the process of growing they soak up all the nutrients from the soil, replenishing none, then you have to wonder where the “sustainability” is in all this?

I hesitate to pronounce this as greenwashing when I may not be in full possession of all the facts. But it’s definitely food for thought.