Sustainably Produced Palm Oil Creates Robust Livelihoods

Growing oil palms and harvesting their fruits provides a major source of income for 3-4 million smallholder farmers who depend partly or solely on palm oil for their livelihoods.

As oil palms can be harvested all year-round, their cultivation provides families in tropical areas with a steady source of income. In producer countries, the crop can be crucial in the battle against poverty and plays a vital role in the improvement of socio-economic conditions in rural areas.

Infographics by CPOPC

Palm oil production often improves smallholder and farmer livelihoods.


Palm oil production can generate employment for landless laborers and small-scale entrepreneurs.


Palm oil production can improve rural infrastructure.

Sustainable palm oil production  addresses social problems such as worker’s rights and land conflicts associated with palm oil production.

  • When production is sustainable, the positive impacts that oil palm cultivation has on rural households and communities in producer countries are increased and the risks of social problems hampering the supply chain can be removed.
  • There is recognition among NGOs of the importance of the RSPO certification system as a mechanism for driving socio-economic improvements in the palm oil sector. The certification scheme guarantees the promotion of human rights, land rights, and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).
  • NGOs, companies, and policy makers can also work outside the RSPO certification system to promote best practice. This is key to driving further positive change.