Promoting zero deforestation and sustainable oil palm production

Solidaridad  has renewed a collaboration with AAK in Mexico, a company specializing in plant-based oils and fats, to promote sustainable practices in the oil palm value chain. Through an agreement focused on the shared commitment of identifying gaps towards certified production and zero deforestation, the partnership focuses on small producers, who are at the core of the oil palm sector in Mexico.

Strategic alliances and future engagement

Strategic alliances are essential to support small producers so they can work with the natural environment in mind.

The agreement was signed by Octavio Diaz, President of AAK Americas and Vice President of AAK AB, Camilo Santos, RSPO Deputy Director of Market Transformation, Gregorio Gómez, President of the Board of Directors of ANIAME, and Jorge Solano, Project Manager representing Solidaridad, among others.

Defining a roadmap towards certification

One of the commitments of the agreement is a pilot project designed to assess the needs and gaps in sustainable and certified production. It will involve the participation of 250 producers as well as the 4 extraction plants. The final goal of the pilot is to elaborate a roadmap to ensure small producers become RSPO certified. 

RSPO joins this project within the framework of the collaboration with Solidaridad in Latin America to unify its strategies throughout the region by sharing knowledge, experience and success stories to boost the sector’s transformation. Additionally, the “Asociación Nacional de Industriales de Aceites y Mantecas Comestibles”, ANIAME, joins as a strategic ally with the aim of promoting structural change and modernizing the sector.

The extraction plants allied for the pilot project are Aceites de Palma in Veracruz, Palmeras Oleaginosas del Sur (PALMOSUR) in Palenque, PROPALMA, and Zitihuatl-PAPSA on the coast of Chiapas.

The pilot project evaluation will be carried out in two stages. The first will deploy the Extension Solution digital tool, designed by Solidaridad in Brazil and adapted by Colombia, to meet the standards of small independent producers. This tool will measure the producer’s degree of compliance with the RSPO standard and provide immediate insights on field activities.

The project is currently in its evaluation phase in the field. Based on the results, we aim to generate an action plan to bridge gaps.

During a second stage, the AAK monitoring and evaluation framework will be used to generate data on compliance with company policy. To achieve this, topics will be evaluated at three levels:

  • Prosperity: aspects such as business models, internal control systems and good agricultural practices will be considered. 
  • Personnel: issues such as child labour, women’s participation and human rights will be discussed.
  • Plantation: topics such as the use of agrochemicals, deforestation and the protection of natural areas will be addressed.

A pilot project for small producers

The main goal of the Knowing the Small Producer project, a collaboration between AAK, Solidaridad, ANIAME and the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil RSPO, is to evaluate and identify the conditions of small producers in the AAK supply chain in Mexico.

This project seeks to identify gaps to work towards zero deforestation and certified production in the sector.

Solidaridad has collaborated with AAK to develop an evaluation and mitigation plan for the prevention of MOSH and MOAH pollutants. Furthermore, we are jointly building the study of living conditions in the Soconusco region and creating the framework of indicators to monitor living conditions within the AAK sustainability program.

This agreement represents a significant step towards sustainability and responsibility in the oil palm industry in Mexico, laying the foundations for future collaborations and actions that benefit both the environment and local communities. It is a symbol of our unity and determination to work together as industry players towards a common goal: sustainability in palm oil production.