Pioneering RSPO conference in the region will spotlight the Americas’ role as sustainable palm oil leaders.
Key actors of the palm oil industry in Latin America and North America are set to gather in the city of Miami, USA, for the first RSPO Inter-American Conference from 30-31 May 2023. Focused on the theme, “From Emerging to Thriving: The role of the Americas as leaders in sustainable palm oil,” the region’s main conference advancing the sustainability of the palm oil sector anticipates around 300 leaders of companies that produce and use sustainable palm oil.
“We are very excited to be bringing the first ever RSPO conference to North America, which is rapidly becoming one of the most influential regions for sustainable palm oil uptake and RSPO membership,” said Cameron Plese, RSPO Head of North America. “Considering the ongoing US due diligence conversations, uniting efforts with RSPO Latin America will ensure realities across the entire supply chain are represented, and key learnings are shared in order to strengthen collaboration and leverage opportunities for further progress.”
Americas take centre stage
The conference takes place at an auspicious time for the Americas, which continues to show strong results in in terms of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) production and CSPO uptake, as well as an increase of CSPO sales sold as RSPO volumes, according to RSPO’s latest Annual Communication of Progress (ACOP).
Notably, in recent years, North America has seen rapid growth in the number of members joining RSPO, counting over 700 organisations from across the palm oil value chain, including processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers and refineries, among others.
Latin America has likewise enjoyed a series of milestones over recent years, having reached an impressive 35% of the total CSPO production in the region certified under the RSPO Standard to position it as the leading region in global sustainability in palm oil production. Currently, there are 31 certified growers in the region hailing from Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico with a total of over 420,500 hectares of certified land. Among these oil palm growing countries, Mexico recently reached a milestone for having the first four groups of independent smallholders to be certified by RSPO in Latin America.
Despite the encouraging progress, key challenges remain for the region, primarily ensuring that environmental protection is locked in with economic development, and strengthening the inclusion of smallholders – which make up a majority of producers in Latin America – in the sustainable palm oil value chain as the region continues to show robust growth. Increasing consumer awareness through coordinated work with environmental and social NGOs, championing human rights as well as creating strategic alliances among producer associations and producer countries will be part of RSPO’s blueprint to mobilise the sustainable palm oil market, and will be among the key topics to be explored during the Conference.