As the main standard for sustainable palm oil production adopted and implemented in Colombia, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) plays an important role for the implementation and compliance of this agreement as it was ratified by several partner organisations, institutions, and growers during the protocol event.

Alignment with RSPO Principles and Criteria

In addition, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) seeks to promote the sustainable development of palm oil within the country’s agricultural industry, the protection and management of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, and the promotion of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), a procedure to strengthen dialogue, inclusion, prosperity and peace with local and indigenous communities. All of these objectives are well aligned with the updated RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) 2018, approved last month.

A boost for sustainable palm oil in Colombia

Institutions such as MVO, the Colombian National Federation of Palm Oil Growers – Fedepalma, Solidaridad and IDH were involved in the statement. The MoU aims to promote the trade of sustainable palm oil between Colombia and the Netherlands, and to increase the production of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) through the inclusion of sustainable practices in the Colombian palm oil industry. The agreement is aligned with the European target to ensure a fully sustainable palm oil supply chain in European countries by 2020.

As part of the discussions held during the signing of the agreement, Samuel Ardila and Nelida Ayala, smallholder growers from Catatumbo (one of the municipalities most affected by the armed conflict in Colombia), shared their experience with the adoption of sustainable practices in their plantation through the implementation of RSPO standards, as well as the benefits in terms of employment opportunities, waste management, and responsible agrochemical management. Furthermore, regional representatives of buyer companies, Certification Bodies and environmental NGOs formally agreed to continue working with the implementation of RSPO standards in the country.

Growing momentum

Colombia is the largest producer of palm oil and RSPO CSPO in the region with 10 certified companies and an additional 9 companies in the process of achieving their certification. The signing of this MoU and the engagement of all parties to achieve sustainability in the Colombian palm oil industry will bring important benefits such as increasing the production, trade and uptake of RSPO CSPO.

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