Manuel Rodriguez Becerra

Environmental performance

Enviromental performance of the Colombian Oil Palm Industry

Autores: Manuel Rodríguez Becerra y Bart van Hoof
Edición: Patricia Bozzi-Ángel

Año de publicación: 2005 
ISBN: 958-97626-4-6

This book, published in 2004, seeks to contribute to the orientation of environmental and social sustainability strategies, as well as to the competitiveness of the oil palm agroindustrial sector. Based on a diagnosis of its environmental performance, with a historical perspective (something like the good, the bad and the ugly of this agroindustry since it began in the 1950s), a set of recommendations are made to place it on a robust path of socio-environmental sustainability.

The evaluation of the sector that we carried out jointly with Bart Van Hoof, arose from an initiative of James Mesa, President of Fedepalma, who pointed out to me that in his opinion, ten years after the approval of Law 99 of 1993, the sector had made substantial progress in its environmental management. And he reminded me that as a minister I called him to a meeting in which I showed him that this sector exhibited a negative environmental performance in the early nineties. As a condition to advance the evaluation that led to this book, I requested that we had total independence, a point that James Mesa accepted. As coordinator of the project from Fedepalma, we were fortunate to have Miguel Angel Mazorra Valderrama (RIP), a highly qualified technician and a true environmentalist.

Among other things, we evaluated the panorama of the oil palm agro-industry in Colombia in terms of the environmental impacts of the crops and the factory processes. We found that, as J Mesa assured me, important and quantifiable progress had been made in environmental management, but that there were still many challenges to be faced. And we pointed out that the great challenge for the sector is to incorporate the environmental issue as part of the “heart” of its business: “meeting this challenge implies that Colombian palm companies will have to adopt a more proactive approach, beyond compliance with regulations. The assimilation of this proactive approach implies developments in different fields both by individual companies and the sector, through Fedepalma and Cenipalma”.