The RSPO Secretariat would like to thank all its members for their firm commitment and action towards sustainable market transformation, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The positive progress in the latest RSPO reporting cycle is a reflection of this collective action, and while there are still many challenges to face, the continued support of the RSPO membership is an encouraging sign pointing towards our shared vision to make sustainable palm oil the norm.
ACOP 2021 Highlights –record submission rate
The RSPO Annual Communication of Progress (ACOP) 2021 reporting cycle has officially closed with an all time high record submission rate of 94.1% (including late submissions).
Overall, ACOP 2021 has revealed encouraging results, with progress in terms of certified sustainable palm oil production and consumption as well as RSPO membership. As of 31 December 2021, RSPO added 155 additional members to reach a total 5,260 members across 100 countries and territories, more than doubling its membership since 2014.
Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) production and consumption showed favourable growth in 2021. The total number of certified volumes increased to 14.7 million MT, reflecting a 5.7% increase from 2020. CSPO sales by mills also demonstrated a substantial 13.5% increase from 2020 with an estimated total 9 million MT (RSPO physical or Credit volumes), representing 61% of total CSPO production. On the downstream side, CSPO consumption reached an estimated 8.53 million mt in 2021, a significant 12.2% rise from 2020.
Among regional performance, Europe and North America continued to record high CSPO uptake, and the “Big Four” markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, India and China also showed an encouraging increase, albeit from a lower base.
High marks for Latin American, Thai growers
RSPO members with palm oil estate and mill operations reported total CSPO production of 14.7 million tonnes, representing 19% of total global production of crude palm oil. Total certified land area (excluding independent smallholders) under these members reached 4.45 million hectares, or 55% of the total estimated global hectarage.
Collectively, total crude palm oil production by RSPO members represented an estimated 41% of total global output in 2021, which is the theoretical ceiling for current CSPO production capacity. Among the five main growing countries and regions, Latin American growers continue to perform well, with 27% of the region’s total production as CSPO and a further potential 43% in line for certification. Malaysia, Indonesia and Africa continue to show steady progress, while Thailand has demonstrated a notable upward trend in terms of independent smallholder membership and certification.
Europe, North America continue strong CSPO uptake
On the downstream side, CSPO consumption using RSPO Credits or physical supply chains (MB, SG, IP) jumped to 8.53 million mt in 2021, recording a significant 12.2% rise from 2020. This continues an upward trend in CSPO consumption using RSPO Credits or physical supply chains, up from 52% in 2019 and 57% in 2020. The remaining volumes of CSPO were sold downstream under other certification schemes or as conventional.
Among the key consumption regions and countries, the European and North American markets continue to maintain the entrenched high CSPO uptake observed over recent years. With the region’s recovery from the worst of the Covid pandemic in 2021, Europe showed a strong rise with a significant increase in CSPO consumption at 3.49 million mt, for an overall uptake of 48.6%. If biofuels and bioenergy are excluded, CSPO uptake in the European food, feed and home/personal care sectors rises to 87.3%.
Likewise, North America continues to shine with an impressive 82.3% CSPO uptake, up from 81% in 2020. Among other consumption regions and regions, Latin America has reached double-digit uptake at 13.9%, while China and India showed encouraging growth by reaching 8% and almost 3% certified uptake respectively.
RSPO Trademark use
Coverage of the RSPO Trademark worldwide continues to grow, recorded by RSPO supply chain members as being used in 134 countries and territories. A total of 203 RSPO Members from the Consumer Goods Manufacturers and Retailer sectors are using the Trademark, either in product packaging or general communications.
Key Trends and Challenges
Looking ahead towards 2030, one of the main challenges for RSPO and its members to address is the gap between the production CSPO and consumption through RSPO supply chain models or other certification schemes for members holding multiple sustainability certifications, leading to a portion of CSPO production downgraded to conventional palm oil when traded. Addressing these issues will require a multi-faceted approach, which include existing RSPO initiatives to strengthen stakeholder engagement, expand market communications, increase membership (especially markets outside Europe and North Africa) and amplified actions to bolster shared responsibility among all players in the palm oil supply chain.
ACOP is a self-reporting mechanism carried out by individual RSPO member companies, and is intended to be a public statement of members’ progress and commitment to help achieve RSPO’s vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm. ACOP submissions are mandatory for RSPO Ordinary and Affiliate Members, and are submitted each year to track progress towards 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil.