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Kuala Lumpur, 5 May 2015 – The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has announced it is working on voluntary guidelines aimed at further enhancing the existing standard’s requirements on issues such as Deforestation, Peatland Development and Indigenous Peoples rights.
The guidelines, which the sustainability standard refers to as RSPO+, will be made available to growers as a voluntary addendum to the existing RSPO Principle and Criteria (P&C).
This action by the RSPO reflects the growing concerns with these issues and extensive discussions within the RSPO on how best to integrate these within the existing standard. It aims at fulfilling the current market and society demands for stronger sustainability requirements, while maintaining the inclusivity of the standard, in its vision of 100% market transformation.
Datuk Darrel Webber, Secretary-General of the RSPO, commented. “We will maintain our vision to make sustainable palm oil the norm. We are confident that this addendum will promote the work of growers who have decided to move faster in their sustainability practices, while making sure we keep everyone on board and travel together towards market transformation”.
He added, “This addendum will help our producer and buyer members to use the RSPO platform to better explain, demonstrate, and communicate how they are addressing issues around peat, deforestation and social issues".
The current P&C, which was last revised in 2013 and consisting of eight principles and criteria for growers in order to be certified by the RSPO, will remain in place, with the RSPO+ guidelines being an additional and voluntary add on for those companies choosing to adopt them.
The first draft of the additional addendum will be presented to the Board of Governors (formed by representatives from all seven sectors of the palm oil industry) in June 2015 and is expected to be put into effect in the second half of the year.
The voluntary addendum will provide clear implementation guidelines and, in compliance with RSPO commitment to full transparency, inclusivity and neutrality will be assessed by 3rd party accredited auditors in order to provide the necessary level of assurance demanded by stakeholders.
A further positive shift for a global palm oil industry that is moving towards making RSPO certified sustainable palm oil the norm.
In response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably-produced palm oil, 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. The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta, London and Zoetermeer (NL).
RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry - 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 - to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
Such multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the Executive Board and project-level 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 to bring group-specific agendas to the roundtable, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders and business competitors to work together towards a common objective and make decisions by consensus.
Contacts for RSPO Secretariat:
Acting Communications Director
T: +603 2302 1500