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Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday 10 March 2021: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Principles and Criteria (P&C 2018) is one of the world’s strictest sets of criteria regarding deforestation of any commodity standards, as evidenced by a 2019 benchmarking report by IUCN Netherlands and even highlighted in today’s report. The P&C includes a total ban on deforestation and requires oil palm growers to protect and conserve High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests, and rare, threatened or endangered (RTE) species, to minimise greenhouse emissions, and prevent fire.
RSPO’s Chief Executive Officer, Beverley Postma, said, “Halting deforestation, preventing fire on oil palm concessions, and protecting peatlands and biodiversity remain some of the toughest challenges in commodity supply chains. Over the past 10 years, the RSPO has worked continuously with our stakeholders to scale up our monitoring and enforcement efforts. We believe that our new suite of standards, adopted by our Members in 2018, remains the best system available to help eradicate these issues.”
We further recognise that we cannot solve the problem of deforestation alone. This requires collaboration and a shared effort across agricultural commodity industries and supply chains with governments and NGOs in all producing and consuming countries, as we have advocated for in the European Union this past year.
RSPO rules ensure that all voices are fairly represented and that all decisions are reached by consensus. This requires the active participation of businesses and civil society in all twenty two committees and working groups, followed by the approval of our elected Board of Governors, and the General Assembly. This process may be slow at times, but it is unquestionably fair and transparent. It is disingenuous and untrue to state or imply that RSPO decision-making is dominated by any one part of the palm oil supply chain.
In recent years, RSPO has taken great strides to strengthen its commitment to transparency and accountability. Since 2013, it has been a requirement for RSPO grower members to submit concession maps (whether certified or not), and in 2018, we made available satellite data relating to members’ concessions and land cover through the public interactive map application GeoRSPO. This allows RSPO and its stakeholders to monitor and identify issues, such as land clearance and forest fires.
The allegations of misconduct by our members identified in the report are in no way representative of our standards. Furthermore, we strongly encourage any organisation or agency with additional information about violations of the P&C found on RSPO member plantations to submit a formal complaint through our Complaints System. The withholding of such information poses a barrier to our ability to independently investigate any alleged allegations and to bring about swift sanctions against those who violate our rules.
Name: Dan Strechay
Position: Global Director – Outreach & Engagement
Name: Fay Richards
Position: Global Communications