Sustainability

Statements on sustainability

Explanations and facts that show that the use of the oil palm trunks, which accrue regularly in the oil plantation business, is an ecological and sustainable process.

  • Oil palm plantations are cleared and replanted after 25 years when crop yields have significantly declined. In Asia, approximately 80 to 100 million oil palm trunks (approx. 100 – 120 million m3) accrue during replanting of “unproductive” plantations every year.
  • As a common practice, these trunks are left to rot in the plantations, only small quantities are used for products and energy. In some cases, oil palm trunks are even (illegally) burnt causing great smoke development.
  • This results in calculated emissions of about 50 – 70 million tons of CO2 and a certain amount of other green house gases.
  • Presently, the wood supply in Asia cannot be ensured on a sustainable basis from existing resources, therefore oil palm wood could substantially contribute to the required timber supply and thus reduce pressure on natural forests.
  • For safeguarding soil fertility and structural conditions, not all biomass should be extracted from the plantation; tests to this regard are still outstanding.
  • The production of wood products, also from oil palm wood, are considered to be environmentally friendly due to relatively low energy requirements part of which can be covered by production residues.
  • Consequently, CO2 emissions from wood product manufacture are much lower compared to those of other material products. Additionally, the energetic use of wood products after product life can reduce the dependency on fossil energy sources.
  • First analyses have shown similar advantages of products from oil palm wood and from “traditional” timber species. Thus, the use of oil palm trunks for products and energy provides great potential for decreasing CO2 emissions, even more so once suitable process technologies are developed.
  • When comparing the cost for product manufacture and the CO2 sink potential, the resulting economic cost for reducing CO2 emissions is low. Next to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, eco-balances show further favorable results.
  • In summary, the overall ecologic effects of oil palm trunk utilization for products and energy are positive.

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