The RSPO held its fifth annual European Roundtable (EURT) event in London on June 13, which saw over 400 delegates attend the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), to discuss innovations and partnerships to transform the palm oil supply chain towards 100% sustainability.
RSPO membership grows and ACOP submissions increase
During the conference, RSPO announced a number of positive achievements, including growth in membership by almost 300 in the last year, taking total membership to more than 3,400 members. Of the members required to submit their annual communication on progress (ACOP) on certified sustainable palm oil, almost 67 per cent did so. These members were joined by an additional 255 small supply chain members, who reported voluntarily, showing the commitment of small and medium enterprises (SME’s) to the process. Furthermore, the total number of members submitting ACOP increased from 1,322 compared to 1,127 in the previous reporting period.
New partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund
The conference also saw the launch of new partnerships which will strengthen RSPO’s work in growing countries, such as with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to promote business practices on children's rights and worker’s welfare in the palm oil sector. This collaboration will address issues and challenges such as child labour, lack of childcare opportunities, poor maternal health and nutrition, and difficult access to education for workers’ children.
The collaboration seeks to pilot and implement a UNICEF workplace program on rights of children and working families in the palm oil sector, to mainstream child rights into RSPO sustainability standards and activities, as well as to create awareness on child rights among RSPO members.
Collaboration with WRI creates powerful monitoring tool
RSPO also revealed its partnership with the World Resource Institute to create GeoRSPO, an interactive mapping platform featuring concession maps submitted by RSPO members who own and manage oil palm plantations overlaid with information on tree cover, topography and past fire occurence. It is a powerful analytical tool for statistical and geospatial analyses and it’s now live at rspo.org.
Other key highlights from the event included a panel debate on how RSPO helps facilitate partnerships between smallholders and supply chain members downstream, as part of the new RSPO Smallholder Strategy. The conversation was focused around how RSPO should determine the role of all its stakeholders to support the development needs of smallholders and incentivise them in an inclusive manner to contribute to environmental, and social solutions and transformation within the palm oil sector.
Complaints Panel opens discussion with RSPO members
RSPO also hosted its first ever interactive dialogue with members of the Complaints Panel as a side event to the conference. The session provided an opportunity for attendees to gain insight and understanding into the RSPO complaints mechanism and related procedures. It also created a platform to receive direct responses from members of the Complaints Panel regarding their experiences and commitment to ensure a constructive resolution to disputes.
The positive data, new partnerships and innovations presented at EURT demonstrate a strong commitment among palm oil stakeholders to continue the market transformation towards 100% certified sustainable palm oil.