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From wrapping up the year with a bang at our annual roundtable meeting (RT13) to reaching many significant milestones, 2015 has been quite an eventful year for all of us at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). We are always committed to continuous improvement and innovation at RSPO, and we’re happy to share our fondest memories and achievements in 2015.
Let’s start with our greatest assets – our members. In this past year, RSPO has increased its global membership by 20 percent, with a noteworthy increase in the US and Australia where membership has increased by more than 50%. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of palm oil grower members, which rose by almost 6 percent.
Major milestones were reached in Europe, where many successful new initiatives have taken place. 2015 has seen RSPO facilitating industry commitments towards 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil uptake in countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the UK and very recently, Italy (with the newly announced Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil).
The UK Statement on sustainable palm oil has just announced some new figures in mid-November 2015, showing UK imports of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) rising to as much as 93% of all palm oil imported. This announcement is certainly a boost for efforts to make all of Europe’s palm oil sustainable by 2020.
In Latin America, it has been a steady journey as the total CSPO production has reached 275,000 metric tonnes. Currently, Latin America is the second largest palm oil producing region in the world, contributing 5.7 percent of global palm oil. So far, 64 members have become RSPO members in the region, and of those 26 are oil palm growers who manage more than 250,000 hectares of oil palm plantations.
In China, our vision at the RSPO is to achieve 10 percent CSPO uptake by 2020, and 44 Chinese organisations are now members of the RSPO. In October 2015, an MoU was signed between China Quality Mark certification Group Production Certification (CQM-PCC) and the RSPO to herald a new collaboration between both parties.
In 2020, RSPO aims to reach 50 percent of CSPO uptake in Indonesia. With market initiatives to create stronger consumers and their significant role to transform the market towards sustainable palm oil, along with the support of 8 million consumers in Indonesia as revealed by recent study, today marks the starting point for encouraging milestones to come.
Globally, 145,534 smallholders (schemed and independent) have been RSPO certified across Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Oceania and Latin America. The estimated volume of certified sustainable palm oil by schemed and independent smallholders is over 1.1 million metric tonnes, representing 10% of total RSPO certified sustainable palm oil.
One of our proudest moments this year was the introduction of RSPO Next. This is a set of additional voluntary guidelines that reflects requests for companies to credibly assess and communicate their will to go further with sustainability requirements through the RSPO system. This voluntary addendum will allow members to do this while maintaining our inclusive Principles & Criteria standard on our quest for 100 percent market transformation towards sustainable palm oil.
RSPO Next is our latest initiative to raise the bar higher, to allow companies to reach standards that will recognise their efforts at promoting best practices around NO Deforestation, NO fire, NO planting on peat, Respect for Human Rights and Transparency.
Another major milestone achieved in 2015 has been the successful implementation of the jurisdictional approach to the certification process. With this new approach, we are looking forward to certifying entire landscapes at once. Currently, 3 sites have been identified as potential pilot locations in Southeast Asia, and Sabah and Central Kalimantan have already committed to implement the jurisdictional approach.
Other areas in which we have achieved success include concession maps. With the exception of Malaysia, RSPO is now certain of its legal position on the issue of concession maps disclosure in Indonesia and other producing nations. Accordingly, the RSPO will reinforce its support to members who are willing to make their maps public.
The RSPO is also very excited to share that we have completed the process of becoming a full ISEAL member. The decision to grant full membership to RSPO is a testament to the steps that have been taken to ensure that the RSPO’s standard system is credible and fully capable of achieving its sustainability goals.
RSPO’s achievements in 2015 strengthen our resolve to achieve our global vision – transforming markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm in every country.
Here’s wishing everyone a joyous 2016!