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Bio Suisse references RSPO in its sustainability requirements for palm oil

In the context of the upcoming virtual edition of the trade fair duo Biofach/Vivaness (17-19 February 2021), the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is pleased to announce the inclusion of RSPO certification requirements for imported products within the new version of the Bio Suisse Standards 2021.

Regenerative and organic agricultural practices offer solutions to several of the present environmental challenges, such as soil degradation, landscape management, and biodiversity loss, yet organic certification schemes do not fully cover socio-economic and sustainability issues beyond the farm level.  It is imperative therefore to also look at how agricultural commodities are sourced on a broader scale. Palm oil is one of the most efficient crops; requiring less land to produce more oil than other types of vegetable oil (such as sunflower, coconut, or rapeseed oil), and it uses less pesticides.

Part of the additional amendment that goes into Part V of the Bio Suisse Standards 2021 on Standards for operations outside of Switzerland and for imported products reads as follows:

«(…) Oil mills that produce palm oil and the farming operations responsible for supplying the palm fruit will be certified in accordance with Bio Suisse Standards if the following additional requirements are met:

a) They are in possession of a currently valid certification in accordance with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Standard (2018 RSPO Principles and Criteria or 2019 RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard). Upon request, Bio Suisse can review and approve an alternative external standard to determine equivalence with RSPO. (…)»

Furthermore, the following requirements are now assumed:

  • Parts of the palm oil production area are cultivated in diversified, agro-ecological cultivation systems.

  • An ideal nutrient cycle in the cultivation system is ensured by the consistent return of by-products from the mill to nearly all cultivated areas.

  • The oil mills ensure that at least 20% of the palm oil marketed comes from farms with smallholder structures.

“Bio Suisse is the Swiss organic farmer association and its 7,300 member farmers strongly care for the environment. We additionally certify around 2,500 international farms and farmer groups that also meet our high requirements. RSPO is the first standard that has now been listed by Bio Suisse to specifically supplement the assessment of palm oil production in terms of sustainability. The standard has a comprehensive approach and is currently the most widespread on the market. Bio Suisse will closely monitor the implementation of the new guidelines and evaluate its effectiveness in cooperation with the stakeholders. With this in mind, we hope for a continuation of the professional exchange with the RSPO representation in Europe,” says Carole Nordmann, Bio Suisse project manager.

RSPO welcomes this move of the Swiss organic organisation, which demonstrates how credible standards can be a real benchmark for different operators and sectors.

Inke van der Sluijs, RSPO Director of Market Transformation commented: “We are grateful for the recognition by Bio Suisse. We are working with our 5,000 members globally to make sustainable palm oil the norm. Sustainable palm oil is produced with respect to the environment, biodiversity, and human rights. Collaboration with the organic movement is instrumental in increasing the uptake of certified sustainable palm oil, and thereby creating positive impact on the ground.”

Both organisations will be present at the Biofach/Vivaness trade fair as exhibitors and stands ready to present this further.

For more information on RSPO, please visit www.rspo.org or email Francesca Morgante, RSPO Market Development Manager for Europe, to arrange a meeting at the event.

For more information on Biofach/Vivaness and Bio Suisse, please visit https://www.biofach.de/en and https://www.vivaness.de/en, or send an email to import@bio-suisse.ch to arrange a meeting at the event.