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Mongabay.com Online Debate on Sustainable Palm Oil: Deforestation


10 Oct 2013



Mongabay.com together with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), WWF and Greenpeace have announced the second online debate on sustainable palm oil, this time dedicated to the issue of deforestation.  The debate will take place at 3.30pm CET (6.30am California, USA; 9.30pm Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) on 17 October.


The haze in South East Asia caused by forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra this summer and affecting Singapore and parts of Malaysia as well raised a number of important questions about palm oil sustainability. The forest fires – partially caused by ‘slash and burn’ to clear land for palm oil production – are part of a bigger discussion on how to halt deforestation and move to sustainable production methods. With some environmental NGOs arguing that the existing RSPO standards are not enough to stop deforestation and some RSPO members stating they will go beyond RSPO standards, it is of crucial importance to discuss the best way forward to protect our forests and ecosystems.


  • What needs to be done to protect forests on the one hand and safeguard food security for the every growing world population on the other hand?

  • Why are some companies and NGOs making the move to go beyond RSPO standards and what does this mean for the transformation of the entire industry?

  • What was the role of RSPO members in the Indonesian forest fires and what is RSPO doing to address these issues?

  • What would be the impact on the environment of the growing demand for palm oil in big consumer markets like India and China?


Darrel Webber, RSPO’s Secretary General, Adam Harrison, Vice-President of the RSPO Executive Board and Senior Policy Officer, Food and Agriculture, WWF and Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Team Leader, will engage in a frank and open discussion on palm oil and deforestation. The debate will be moderated by Rhett Butler, president and editor-in-chief of mongabay.com, one of the world's most popular environmental science and conservation news websites.