The Daabon Group, headquartered in Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia, has received the first-ever Fair Trade USA certification of a palm oil product, Hain Celestial’s Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening.
The palm oil comes from rural, small-scale farmers in the Magdalena Region of Colombia. Daabon’s focus on sustainable production methods, farmer empowerment and long-term community development was recognized by Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America.
Palm oil is the most efficient oil crop in the world, offering up to nine times more oil than soybean and more than five times more oil than canola per acre. Additionally, palm oil is the most used vegetable oil crop in the world, used in over 50 percent of packaged consumer food products.
Unfortunately, the industry has been linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in many countries where it is produced. The Daabon Group has a long history of incorporating sustainable business practices into all aspects of its production processes, including environmental and social programs.
“We have always worked from a belief that palm oil can achieve a positive impact on not only the food industry but also the regions in which it is produced, when managed correctly,” said Manuel Davila, CEO of the Daabon Group. “We are proud to partner with Fair Trade USA to bring these products to market and create new and better economic opportunities for palm growers in Colombia.”
In addition to earning the industry’s only Fair Trade USA certification, Daabon’s products have received certificates from the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the Rainforest Alliance, a nongovernmental organization committed to maintaining biodiversity.
Fair Trade USA works to help farmers develop sustainable livelihoods and become better stewards of the land. The rigorous Fair Trade standards address a range of issues including child and forced labor, safe working conditions and environmental protection. The Fair Trade Community Development Premium is also a critical part of Fair Trade. That program allows Fair Trade farmers to earn additional funds with every sale, to be used on much-needed community projects like healthcare, education, agricultural training and business development.
For Hain Celestial, the Fair Trade certification of its Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening is a natural extension of the company’s overall commitment to natural, sustainable consumer products.
“Consumers and our retail customers want to know that palm farmers are treated fairly, and working with Fair Trade USA and Daabon allows us to meet our consumers’ needs,” said Jessica Sobel, senior director of sustainability at Hain Celestial Group, Inc. “The Fair Trade certification of Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening reflects a shared commitment to empower farmers and protect the environment.”