In recent years, palm oil has earned a bad reputation among people and companies that care about the environment and where their food comes from. A simple Google search of “palm oil” reveals articles about deforestation, corruption, and habitat loss of wild animals. There is even a palm oil-free certification, which indicates products don’t contain this important ingredient.
Anger over palm oil that destroys biodiversity, and takes advantage of local farmers, is warranted. But not all palm oil is created equal. In fact, when done right, palm oil production can improve the health of the planet, and the lives of the farmers who produce it. As a third-generation company that has for generations pioneered integrity in palm oil production, we at Daabon feel it’s important to share how we farm, extract, and refine palm oil to provide visibility into our processes and values.
This blog represents the first in a year-long series to showcase the ways in which Daabon places planet, people and product first. As founding members of the Palm Oil Innovation Group, we recognize that many palm oil suppliers have a lot of work to do. We hope to be a part of the solution by sharing the practices we believe move the dial in integrity-driven palm oil production.
Here’s a glimpse into the ways we do palm oil differently.
Daabon is a vertically integrated company, which means we own all aspects of our production, including the land our palm oil is grown on, our extraction mills, our refinery and our corporate offices.
Headquartered in Colombia, we build sustainable practices into all aspects of our production. For example, via our methane recapture program, Daabon produces enough energy to power our extraction mill and put energy back on the grid. We optimize waste management, and have implemented practices such as feeding the pressed palm oil cake (high-fiber material left over from the extraction process) to our cattle; the cattle provide us all-natural fertilizer (read: manure) to help our palm trees thrive.
We work with many smallholders—family farmers who produce a small amount of palm oil, and often have other crops. Daabon is passionate about bringing smallholders up to our level of certification, which includes USDA Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified so they can receive a premium on their other crops, too. We also have a microcredit loan program to support our workers and community members in diversifying their income with other business opportunities.
We care for our people. But don’t take our word for it: “We not only produce palm,” says Héctor Marín, a smallholder in Colombia. “We also see our community, our neighbors, employees, the environment and nature grow along with these projects.”
At the end of the day, we know customers come to us because we offer one of the highest-quality palm oils available. We deeply appreciate the value of certifications, and we even partake in the creation of some standards to elevate the entire palm oil industry. Thanks to our vertically integrated model, we know exactly where our palm oil comes from—making Daabon’s products one of the most traceable palm oils around.
Tune back into this blog every month to learn more about our triple-bottom line practices, and how we uphold our mission to transform the palm oil industry with business and farming practices that put people and the environment first.