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RSPO Releases Industry-First 'Decent Living Wage' Guidance for Oil Palm Workers

Kuala Lumpur, 12 June 2019: Today, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in collaboration with the Labour Task Force (LTF) launched a first-of-its-kind guidance document for the oil palm industry on the payment of a ‘Decent Living Wage’ (DLW), adopted from the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC) Methodology, to determine the DLW in RSPO certified units for all workers.

As an important element of the recently adopted 2018 Principles and Criteria (P&C), this guide will assist members to assess whether the remuneration provided to their workers is sufficient for the worker and his/her family to afford a basic but decent lifestyle, which takes into account the family’s needs such as decent housing, sanitation facilities, adequate clean water supply, medical care, as well as education needs for the children in the family.

The guidance also explains how to determine the DLW benchmark, calculate DLW, calculate prevailing wages and the living wage gap, as well as ways to develop a self-implementation plan for RSPO grower members to move towards payment of the DLW.

Lee Kuan Yee, Senior Sustainability Manager at Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) and RSPO Board of Governors member said, "As this concept is relatively new in the industry, the RSPO Secretariat organised a few workshops and sessions together with growers and other stakeholders to fine tune this guidance and include a step-wise implementation for the growers to progressively work towards the implementation of a DLW. This guidance is not the end but just the beginning of this journey, and we will continue to work together with growers, the RSPO Secretariat, and other stakeholders to ensure this concept is understood by all, and is implementable."

RSPO Human Rights and Social Standards Manager, Kamini Visvananthan said, “RSPO members have taken a bold step and now require producers of oil palm to provide a decent living wage. I hope the positive impact will be felt across the whole industry, and not just limited to workers on the ground. This responsibility does not rest solely with the producers, support from the entire membership is vital to ensure that workers and their families have the right to a decent standard of living.”

To assist members in calculating the DLW, benchmark estimates for several regions within four countries; Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Colombia are provided in the guidance for reference. These estimates will be used in the interim, however the RSPO endeavours to provide benchmarks for the countries where its members are involved in the production of palm oil, which are not already estimated for by the GLWC.

The development of this guidance document started in January 2019, with the target for completion by RSPO’s co-hosted event, the Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue - Europe, with partners IDH - the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA), in Utrecht, Netherlands, on Friday 14 June, 2019. The event focuses on how Europe will meet its target to source 100% sustainable palm oil by 2020. While many are making good progress in their sustainable sourcing commitments, more work needs to be done, and with urgency, to close the gap and completely transform the market. Driving market uptake and demand for sustainable palm oil is a shared responsibility, action is required from all industry players.

-ENDS-

Available for use: DLW Factsheet

About RSPO:

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. RSPO is a not-for-profit, international, membership organisation that unites stakeholders from the different sectors of the palm oil industry including oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs, and social or developmental NGOs.

This multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the Board of Governors, Steering Committees and Working Groups are fairly allocated to each sector. In this way, RSPO lives out the philosophy of the "roundtable" by giving equal rights to each stakeholder group, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders in working together to reach decisions by consensus, and achieving RSPO’s shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.

The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta (ID), London (UK), Zoetermeer (NL), Beijing (CN) and Bogotá (CO).


For further information, kindly contact:  

Name: Dan Strechay

Position: RSPO Interim Global Outreach & Engagement Director   

dan.strechay@rspo.org
Name:  Kamini Visvananthan

Position: RSPO Human Rights & Social Standards Manager

kamini.v@rspo.org