The example of palm oil makes it clear just how successfully Commerzbank has enshrined sustainable criteria in its core business. Palm oil is the world's most important vegetable oil, accounting for one third of global consumption of vegetable oil. Constantly increasing global demand is leading to the destruction of tropical forests to make way for palm oil plantations, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia but increasingly in Africa and South America as well. This in turn leads to indigenous peoples being dispossessed of their land and the destruction of rare animal and plant species.
Commerzbank became aware of this problem at an early stage, and entered direct talks with the relevant market entities, in Singapore for example, as long ago as 2007. A code of conduct for the supply of palm oil was devised jointly.
Since August 2014, Commerzbank is, as the first German bank, a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Thereby, we intend to contribute to a sustainable development of the palm oil sector as well as to have positive impact on the support of sustainable production. As a member of the RSPO we admit, among others, to more transparency, long-term orientated economic activities and responsible dealing with environment, natural resources as well as affected individuals and communities in the palm oil market.
Any palm oil supplier with whom Commerzbank is involved must be a member of the RSPO. Suppliers must also provide information (such as certification) about the extent to which sustainable palm oil production is already carried out within their process chain, or about their targets for ensuring sustainable production. Commerzbank cannot finance the supply of palm oil if suppliers fail to meet any of these criteria. This and other issues are firmly enshrined in the bank's processes.