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The global situation of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has impacted many communities around the world and has adjusted the ways in which we all work. Despite growing challenges, many RSPO members, communities, and stakeholders continue to make great progress towards our shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.
In North America specifically, RSPO Membership and certification continues to increase. From 2016 to today, RSPO membership for Canada and the United States (U.S.) increased by 137% to represent a combined total of 647 RSPO members. This increase in RSPO membership is representative of a growing market for sustainable palm oil, which brings with it many opportunities and challenges. To address many of these challenges, more than 40 U.S.-, Latin America-, and Canada-based RSPO members have come together to form the North American Sustainable Palm Oil Network (NASPON), a group focused on collaborating to educate, build momentum, and accelerate collaboration within the market for the uptake of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. Its aim is also to assist North American companies in delivering on their sourcing commitments in an effort to overcome shared challenges to achieving 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in the region.
As the North American market for sustainable palm oil continues to grow, so has the desire to contribute to improving human rights conditions, stopping deforestation, supporting smallholders, and to playing an impactful role while being geographically far removed from growing regions. The North America Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue, which was recently postponed due to Covid-19, was originally scheduled to be hosted by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado. Although this event can’t continue in person as planned, it remains important for influential stakeholders to continue discussing the current market, challenges, and opportunities for sustainable palm oil in North America.
With this in mind, we are officially moving the North America Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue to a digital format that will span three days: 16-18 June from 1:00 - 3:00pm Eastern Time each day. Registration is now open and the tentative schedule for panel sessions can be found here.
U.S. Representative, Cameron Plese said, “We are excited to provide an impactful virtual event for industry leaders and key stakeholders across all sectors where we will discuss the topics most important to this issue: smallholders, deforestation, 2020 targets, human rights, as well as the roles of the financial sector and consumers. As we continue to see increasing awareness in North America of challenges faced in production of palm oil , it is more important than ever for stakeholders to collaborate and exchange dialogue on these issues.”
The virtual conference will now be free of charge and we will be providing more information in the coming weeks.