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RSPO’s European Roundtable calls for greater inclusivity across palm oil supply chain

Paris, 26 June 2018 – The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world’s largest palm oil certification organisation, held its sixth annual European Roundtable (EURT) conference in Paris today, calling for greater inclusivity throughout the palm oil supply chain; ‘from production to consumption.’

Aligned with this theme, the event discussed ways of speeding up market transformation towards the common goal of sustainability, such as how to prevent deforestation caused by increasing demand for palm oil from major markets, including the EU.

Europe remains the leading market for sustainable palm oil, yet this continues to be a topic of debate among consumers and policy makers. People are looking for greater levels of transparency, commitment and sustainability.

RSPO CEO Datuk Darrel Webber reminded attendees of the potential negative ‘unintended consequences’ that can arise from companies removing palm oil from their supply chains: “The key is to make sure commodities including palm oil are produced sustainably. We acknowledge that improving standards alone is not enough -  only with a concerted and focused effort on achieving demand for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil can we stimulate a change in production methods,” he said.

During her video address, Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change, called for the audience to form ‘a collaboration among importers and producers; a collaboration across Europeans and non-Europeans; a collaboration across the public sector and private sector; a collaboration across civil society and the financial sector. All of you have a role to play and the solution will not be found unless each of you brings your particular background, your particular skillset and your collective determination to actually solving this issue in a timely fashion.’

During the event, RSPO took the opportunity to launch its interactive, online, knowledge sharing platform - the Sustainability College. Featuring courses on RSPO’s key sustainability topics such as the Role of Certification; Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC); New Planting Procedure (NPP); and more, the platform aims to increase awareness and understanding of these topics in a unique and engaging way.

It was also announced that Soapworks Ltd. is the first company to fully support RSPO NEXT by covering their total production with RSPO NEXT Credits. Soapworks is a soap bars manufacturer based in the UK, that mainly uses RSPO Segregated ingredients and covers the remaining volume with RSPO Credits to ensure 100% coverage of their total volume.  Soapworks Ltd. used the equivalent of 1,071 MT of oil palm products in 2017 and the total volume supports the production of RSPO NEXT oil palm products. RSPO NEXT is a voluntary add-on module engaging RSPO member companies to exceed RSPO’s internationally recognised standards. RSPO NEXT was developed in response to the increased market commitments for no deforestation, no development on peat, no fires, and no human rights violations.

In a further step towards greater transparency, it was announced earlier this month that RSPO has partnered with technology company Ulula to introduce a simplified and inclusive mechanism to report potential worker’s incidents and abuses, and to monitor employee satisfaction and social investments in oil palm plantations. The tool, which has been made available free of charge through simple feature phones, will enable workers to anonymously submit a complaint in case of any intimidation or retaliation.

The sixth annual European Roundtable brings into focus the need to adopt an inclusive approach at each stage of market transformation. This is fundamental to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the advancement of a more inclusive, sustainable future.

The conference is being held at the Palais des Congrès de Paris with over 400 representatives from the global palm oil industry, including corporate leaders in sustainability, financial institutions, policymakers, academics, and social and environmental NGOs from around the world.

RSPO is working towards making sustainable palm oil the norm through a process of market transformation and has a goal to reach 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in Europe by 2020. This target is echoed in national industry initiatives and signatories to the Amsterdam Declarations governments.

 

Further Information: www.eurt.rspo.org

About RSPO

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 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 growers, 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.

To date, RSPO certified oil palm grower members have set aside an area equivalent to 250,000 football fields (189,777 hectares) of High Conservation Value (HCV) area. RSPO-certified plantations now cover a total of 3.57 million hectares across 16 countries, and produce 12.20 million tonnes of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO); 19% of global palm oil. This includes a total of 88,753 RSPO Certified Scheme and Independent Smallholders covering a certified area of 336,841 hectares.

 

For more information please contact:

Stefano Savi

Global Outreach and Engagement Director

T: +603 2302 1500

E: stefano.savi@rspo.org