The Palm Oil Debate successfully launched with The Guardian

Blog, 08 December 2014
© The Guardian

The RSPO and Guardian’s Sustainable Business network have launched ‘The Palm Oil Debate’ a 12-month project sponsored by the RSPO to open a global conversation and highlight the issues around palm oil and sustainability.  All content is editorially independent and is led by the Guardian Sustainable Business network editors.

The project kicked off with an interactive to show the journey of palm oil from the rainforest through to the kitchen cupboard and how prevalent it is in the everyday products that we buy.

Given its world-class reputation for independent journalism and that it is one the top three news media websites in the world, this partnership with The Guardian, offers the RSPO a superb platform to reach an international audience of consumers, opinion formers and business leaders.

Since launching on 10 November, the results have been encouraging, with 35,000 unique visitors from across the world engaging with the content. The interactive featured on front page of The Guardian news-site for 24 hours which is unheard of for a feature from the Sustainable Business section. The live Q&A chat from RT12 generated 128 comments, the vast majority of which were thoughtful and balanced.

Beyond the numbers, this innovative partnership has demonstrated the commitment of the RSPO to transparency and two-way debate with the public.   Through the placement of adverts, we have a highly visible bridge for Guardian readers onto the re-designed RSPO website.

Over the next year, journalists will produce a series of features, infographics, Q&A sessions, studio debates and roundtable events, designed to explore the issues and bring the palm oil debate to life. We are confident that, by working in this way, we will raise awareness and understanding and win more support for RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.

Your support and active participation is needed to make this a real success.  We have already had members involved in the first live chat from Marks and Spencer, WWF, MPOC, Wilmar, alongside Greenpeace and the Carbon Disclosure Project,  nicely summed up with 10 Things You Need to Know about Sustainable Palm Oil.

Please do join the debate on the Guardian website and provide your perspectives, keeping in mind the rules of engagement. We also welcome any articles or perspective pieces that could be used either on the RSPO’s Palm Oil Debate page or which could be pitched to the Guardian.

We are excited about the year ahead as we facilitate an inclusive digital dialogue through this partnership. We hope you will be a part of it.

Image: © The Guardian (data sourced from "Economic valuation of the Leuser National Park on Sumatra, Indonesia", Pieter JH van Beukering, Herman SJ Cesar, Marco A Janssen)