World’s largest annual meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil aims at transforming the market through effective discourse

Kuala Lumpur, October 31 2011 – The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has started the countdown to its ninth annual Round Table meeting (RT9) in Sabah, Borneo. The RT is the world’s largest meeting on sustainable palm oil organized annually by RSPO as a platform to exchange views and experiences among various stakeholders in developed and developing countries; and to strengthen their co-operation and support towards a unified vision.

Themed: “RSPO Certified: Transforming the Market. Together,” approximately 800 delegates from over 15 countries around the world from both grower and consumer markets have registered to attend the annual meeting on sustainable palm oil.

RT9 will begin with an official opening ceremony by guest of honour Yang Berhormat Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia. Jonathon Porritt, co-founder and director of the Forum for the Future and former advisor to the UK government, will follow as the key note speaker.  For the first time this year, the conference has a Concluding Oration which will be presented by Yang Berbahagia Datuk Sam Mannan of the Sabah Forestry Department.

The RT9 this year boasts an impressive line-up of speakers who are experts in various subject matters. Amongst them include world’s leading environmentalists; sustainability advocates; policy makers; government representatives; academics; diplomatic envoys; private sector captains of industries; international financiers; philanthropists etc.

Board members and general members of the RSPO – all experts in their respective fields – will be very active during the RT9, but important outside perspective will also be represented by high level representatives. Some of the speakers outside the RSPO membership fraternity will include HE Vincent Piket, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Malaysia who will speak on European Union and Palm Oil; Ir Gamal Nasir, Director General Estate Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, Indonesia on National Standards; Justin Mundy, Director of the UK-based The Prince's Charities’ International Sustainability Unit on REDD+ and Roundtables; Dr Sun Weijun of Julong Group on a business perspective of CSPO in China, etc.

The list of plenary sessions and speakers at the RT9 forms a good reflection of the key motivations and priorities that will steer us towards market transformation.  Some of these key themes include the significance of Green House Gasses, the impact and role of smallholders in the market transformation, the emergence of new frontiers (new producing countries in for example West Africa and Latin America) and also transparency, communications and claims (including trademark) as well as trade and traceability. Also, the efforts to also move the sustainability needle in very important consumer markets such as India and China will receive due attention.

Darrel Webber, Secretary General of the RSPO, comments: "We are delighted that RT9 this year is so well received amongst the international scene. It is a clear testimony that sustainably produced palm oil is gaining increasing interest, attention and momentum as the solution to concerns faced within the sector.  It is the effort of every individual and organization that will lead towards enabling the global environment to support sustainability in palm oil throughout the supply chain despite challenges faced."

"RT 9 comes at a pivotal moment in time for the drive of RSPO to transform the palm oil industry towards one where sustainable palm oil will be the norm. A significant increase of market commitment towards the uptake of CSPO is a current priority for RSPO even though the uptake has been steadily increasing on a year on year basis. We believe the RSPO has the dynamics and system to make this work; it is only a matter of time. We continue to advance forward with unyielding conviction, collaboration and coherence for a better tomorrow. RT9 is a key part of this endeavour." Webber added.

Main sponsors for this year’s RT9 include Sime Darby; Musim Mas; Agropalma; Cargill; HSBC and Rabobank. Exhibitors include Sawit Watch; GreenPalm; Proforest Sdn Bhd; Control Union (M) Sdn Bhd; UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside; Wild Asia Sdn Bhd; Credent Technology (Asia) Pte Ltd;  NGOs;  World Resources Institute;  Daemeter Consulting; PT REA Kaltim Plantations; Solidaridad Network; EcoOils Limited; IPALM (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd;  PT Earthline; Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil; BORNEO CONSERVATION TRUST;  Bayer Co. (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd; UNICEF. Media partners comprise Mongabay (social media); ENDS Report (UK); Agro Asia (Indonesia); Jakarta Globe (Indonesia); Daily Express (Sabah) and collaboration with China Food News (China).

About RT9:

Positioned as the world’s largest sustainable palm oil conference and held since 2003, the annual roundtable or RT is a platform to exchange views and experiences among various stakeholders in developed and developing countries; to strengthen their co-operation and support in promoting sustainable palm oil.  The annual roundtable is positioned as an industry event organized to seek participation from players within the palm oil sector from all around the world. Last year, the event attracted over 700 other delegates from all around the world representing various stakeholder groups in the palm oil supply chain.

This year, RT9 will be held from November 21, 2011 in Sutera Harbour Hotel, Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. RT9 will be organized over 3 days comprising presentation papers; workshops; breakout sessions; dialogues.  More information about the RT9 can be accessed

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 currently based in Kuala Lumpur with a satellite office in Jakarta.

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 making decisions by consensus.

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