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Jakarta, 19 August 2020: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) co-hosted a virtual event today with CNN Indonesia focusing on the new rules of RSPO’s Shared Responsibility (SR), a concept that aims to balance the scale of sustainable palm oil production with sustainable palm oil uptake in Indonesia.
With uptake of sustainable palm oil in Indonesia at just over 13% as of June this year, panellists from RSPO, Golden Agri Resources (GAR), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia, and the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) came together to discuss the key challenges and opportunities in driving market transformation in the world’s largest oil palm producing country.
RSPO Indonesia Country Director, Tiur Rumondang, explained that while the SR concept is not new to RSPO and has been part of the Members’ Code of Conduct for over five years now, during the revision of the Principles and Criteria (P&C) in 2017, stakeholders identified that the SR concept needed to be revisited and developed further.
“Over the past 14 years or so, we have seen impressive growth in sustainable palm oil production from our members but demand has not quite been on par with supply, and there were beliefs that buyers did not adhere to the same standards applicable to producers because there were no set rules in place,” Tiur said.
“With the concept of shared responsibility, we want to encourage greater mobilisation of efforts among all stakeholders in the supply chain to achieve market transformation and to reach RSPO’s shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm,” she said.
In support of the approach, WWF Indonesia Head of Market Transformation, Aditya Bayunanda, said, “Joint efforts are needed now more than ever to ensure that oil palm growers who produce oil palm sustainably receive necessary benefits, and that consumers then use their purchasing power to further incentivise producers, including smallholders.”
WWF has been promoting certified and responsibly-sourced palm oil products both domestically and internationally and also shares relevant information on where companies can source sustainable palm oil from, in order to support market players.
Commenting on the topic, GAR’s Managing Director for Sustainability and Strategic Stakeholder Engagement, Agus Purnomo, said, “This is becoming a significant burden only shouldered by oil palm farmers. We need to make sustainability actions a shared responsibility by all.”
GAR has been a member of RSPO since April 2011 and has 270,000 hectares of RSPO certified oil palm plantation and a production capacity of up to 1.3 million tonnes of Crude Palm Oil (CPO). In addition to their RSPO commitments, GAR has been inviting independent factories and farmers that are not part of their supply chain to implement similar policies on sustainability.
“We have plantation data on around 80% of our suppliers. This data is important to assure our consumers that they are buying from plantations and factories that are committed for sustainability,” he said.
YLKI Chairman, Tulus Abadi, added that the majority of consumers in Indonesia are not aware of the use of palm oil in common supermarket products.
“Most Indonesian consumers only know palm oil as a cooking oil and the idea of sustainable consumption is not a major concern for Indonesian consumers. This happens because there is no education from industry players to consumers relating to product knowledge and there are no clear policies for this matter.”
“We encourage the cooking oil industry to ensure that cooking oil products are environmentally friendly, both from the upstream to the downstream. It must guarantee that there are no violations of labour rights and human rights among other key sustainability criteria,” he said.
On 31 October 2019, the Board of Governors of the RSPO approved landmark rules calling for ‘Shared Responsibility’. The new rules state that RSPO Consumer Goods Manufacturers and Retailer members who buy sustainable palm oil are to increase their uptake by an additional 15% (from the previous year’s baseline which will be the 2019 ACOP) for the first year of SR implementation (E.g: If uptake was 10% in the previous year, it should be 25% for year one).
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. RSPO is a not-for-profit, international, membership organisation that unites stakeholders from the different sectors of the palm oil industry including oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs, and social or developmental NGOs.
This multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the Board of Governors, Steering Committees and Working Groups are fairly allocated to each sector. In this way, RSPO lives out the philosophy of the "roundtable" by giving equal rights to each stakeholder group, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders in working together to reach decisions by consensus, and achieving RSPO’s shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.
The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta (ID), London (UK), Zoetermeer (NL), Beijing (CN) and Bogotá (CO).
Name: Dan Strechay
Position: Global Outreach & Engagement Director
Name: Margareth Naulie Panggabean
Position: Outreach & Engagement Manager, Indonesia