All RSPO members have the responsibility “to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm”. The RSPO Theory of Change (ToC) is underpinned by the concept of Shared Responsibility and accountability for greater progress towards sustainability. As growers have mandatory Time-Bound Plans and a failure to implement these will result in concrete sanctions, downstream actors have also committed to contribute to the same mission to make sustainable palm oil the norm.

The RSPO Shared Responsibility Requirements and Implementation document developed by the Shared Responsibility Task Force (SRTF) was endorsed by the RSPO Board of Governors (BOG) on 31 October 2019. Shared Responsibility (SR) for downstream actors translates into a sustainable supply chain by adopting sustainable policies, demonstrating accountability, allocating resource for implementation, and collective effort to achieve market transformation in, for example, emerging markets, as well as creating a higher demand for certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) products. 

The Shared Responsibility Working Group (SRWG) is mandated to work on the practical implementation of SR requirements, specifically in reviewing the CSPO supply and demand projections and making a recommendation to the BOG for the percentage point increase of certified uptake by supply chain members as per the SR26 requirement on volumes.

The RSPO BOG has recently endorsed the following uptake targets for Year Two (2021) for existing members:

  • For Processors and Traders (P&T) the uptake target is 2% points growth in CSPO uptake for each member in 2021. 
  • For Consumer Goods Manufacturers (CGM) and Retailers (RT), the target is 12% points growth for CSPO and 7% for CSPKO. These actors should meet their uptake targets by means of physical RSPO certified volumes in order to pull the supply chain.  While RSPO Credits are an acceptable stepping stone (and accepted to support Independent Smallholders), in more developed markets such as Europe, USA, and Australia, the CGMs and RTs will confine their usage to mostly physical certified RSPO products. 

While a sanctions and incentives system is designed, there will be no sanctions or incentives for the members. The SRWG shall design these sanctions and incentives this year.

“All membership categories have a crucial role in increasing the quantity and quality of CSPO. It is important for every company to know what its responsibilities are in terms of volumes and also to see our collective role in raising the credibility of RSPO,” says James Whitehead, Director of Forest Peoples Programme, and SRWG Co-Chair.

“The SRWG worked collaboratively to reach consensus on uptake of CSPO volumes and we are now looking forward to members putting this into action to ensure supply matches demand. In the coming months, we will focus on resourcing for transformation, the implementation manual, and socialisation of the Shared Responsibility requirements. We look forward to continuing to engage and consult with the wider RSPO membership,” says Natasha Schwarzbach, Global Sustainability, PepsiCo, and SRWG Co-Chair.

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