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Certified sustainable palm oil

Palm oil history

The history of palm oil stretches back thousands of years, with the oldest record of its use dating from 3,000 BC. In the late 1800s archaeologists discovered palm oil in a tomb located in Abydos, Egypt. It is believed that Arab traders had brought the oil to Egypt.

Palm Oil Fresh Fruit Bunch

A fresh fruit bunch (FFB). The variety shown in this picture is called Tenera. Palm oil is extracted from each of the individual fruits contained on the bunch.

3.000 BC

Mass of several kgs of palm oil found in a vessel enclosed in a tomb at Abydos.

Middle 15th Century

Written records of palm oil being used as a local food source by European travelers to West Africa.

16th & 17th Century

Red palm oil became an important item in the developing trade network supplying caravans and ships of the Atlantic slave trade.

18th Century

British industrial revolution created palm oil demand for candle-making and as a lubricant for machines. This was supplied by a modest export trade from West Africa. 

Early 19th Century

European-run plantations were set up in Central Africa and Southeast Asia. 


German investment in Cameroon brought about the discovery of the Tenera breed of palm oil. This high-yielding breed is what is used today in large-scale plantations. 


Palm oil was introduced into Malaysia by a Scotsman named William Sime and an Englishman by the name of Henry Darby.


Technological improvements in edible oil refining and transport drive the usage of unhydrogenated palm oil in western foods.  


Malaysia emerged as the worlds largest palm oil producer, by 1990 global palm oil production reached close to 11 million metric tonnes. 

Where is palm oil grown?