RSPO members agree on new palm oil standard

A worker collects palm oil fruit after being harvested at a plantation in Kampung Bukit Hijau, Kuala Selangor March 14, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
A worker collects palm oil fruit after being harvested at a plantation in Kampung Bukit Hijau, Kuala Selangor March 14, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 15 — The 16th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil has closed its curtains today with over 850 representatives from the global palm oil industry agreeing to a newly ratified and adopted certification standard.

It is aimed to universally strengthen social development, economic prosperity and protect the environment across the sustainable palm oil value chain.

Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Darrel Webber, welcomed the newly adopted, consensus-driven principles and criteria (P&C) 2018 standard which includes a number of new elements, such as adopting zero deforestation through the implementation of the High Carbon Stock Approach.

“Today, we endorsed a universal, transformative, and integrated agenda, intended to strengthen transparency and inclusivity in the RSPO system, increase implementation of the RSPO standard, boost market uptake of SPO through shared responsibilities, and create an enabling environment for our shared vision of market transformation,” he said in a statement.

He said the collaborative, multi-stakeholder review process, which was launched in March 2017 through to October 2018, had received almost 11,500 individual stakeholder comments, which were tabled, ratified and voted today during the general assembly.

The review process also resulted in the subsequent development of an additional and separate standard specifically for independent smallholders, due for ratification in November 2019.

Webber noted that the new P&C was a testament to the review process; two 60-day public consultations, 18 face-to-face events in 13 countries, six Task Force meetings, and an unprecedented participation of civil society.

The P&C 2018 comes into effect immediately, with existing RSPO grower members given a one-year transition period to implement the new standard.

The RSPO P&C are a set of environmental and social standards which member companies must comply with in order to meet the RSPO certification standard.

It is reviewed every five years and benchmarked against the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance, a global membership association for credible sustainability standards.

Other topics of interest deliberated at the conference included ‘Sustainable Financing’, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production in Emerging Markets’ as well as the release of RSPO’s latest Impact Report.

Themed “A Renewed Commitment to Achieving Market Transformation”, the three-day conference also included the 15th Annual General Assembly.

The conference was framed around the key elements of the recent RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) review: Halting deforestation, protecting peatlands, and strengthening human and labour rights.

Globally, the RSPO has more than 4,000 members including corporate leaders in sustainability, financial institutions, policymakers, academics, and social and environmental non-government organisations worldwide. — Bernama

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