Young people from over twenty countries gathered for the virtual annual Global Youth for Sustainable Palm Oil (GYSPO) Summit, calling for stronger commitment toward climate action through sustainable food systems and increased demand for certified sustainable palm oil.
KUALA LUMPUR, 6 December 2021: On 4 December 2021, more than 8,000 young people representing over 20 countries gathered for the virtual Global Youth for Sustainable Palm Oil (GYSPO) Summit, calling for greater climate action and commitment and to discuss how to make sustainable food systems a reality, including ways to increase the demand for certified sustainable palm oil.
The Summit was organised by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in association with several youth networks and communities in China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, namely, Changemakers for Nature China, Youth for Sustainability India, Youth in Sustainability Indonesia and Youth for Sustainability Malaysia. After four hours of intense discussions and productive critical arguments, the youth delegation made a collective commitment to take on a shared responsibility for making sustainable palm oil the norm.
Youth voices in action
The youth delegation also called on businesses and governments to not only pledge but deliver on their environmental promises, and to be transparent about their progress. Making the case that long-term investment would encourage brand loyalty and economic benefits, delegates expressed optimism that consumers and businesses could become united towards a common goal for a sustainable future.
In the hope that together we can inspire a generation of people and co-create a more inclusive and sustainable world for all, Tiger Li, a representative from Changemakers for Nature, China said, “We represent four billion people in the region. We grew up in an era of extreme change. We have seen our homes that were once a place of warmth to be on fire, our air coloured in grey haze, our coastlines where we have our livelihoods receding. There is a need to act now.”
The global youth delegation emphasised that accountability and innovation are key, and as the next generation they will be committing not only to sustainable actions but also to holding organisations and businesses accountable for unsustainable practices. Punyasloka Panda, National Coordinator of Youth for Sustainability India said, “The youth population of India contributes to one-fifth of the total youth population of the world, while market demand for food and daily utilities in India totals a significant portion of sales for several global companies. As part of the youth of India, we ask our brands, corporations and the government to make sure the production and use of palm oil is certified sustainable. We call for a future of climate action, not climate anxiety.”
Echoing Punyasloka Panda’s remarks, Adhitya Latif Prahesta, National Coordinator, Youth in Sustainability Indonesia also encouraged RSPO members to respond to this call and to see their expectations as an opportunity: “We recognise that our position as consumers has a role in transforming the palm oil business and market. We support this change by urging the commitment of all players in the sustainable palm oil industry, by learning more about palm oil and sustainable palm oil issues, and by sharing information about sustainable palm oil. We are ready to become champions for sustainable palm oil by committing to change our consumption behaviour and choose sustainable products.”
Ignatius Baxter Sagong Anak Nair, President, Youth for Sustainability Malaysia, said, “We represent 15 million youth across Malaysia. Our generation has the strongest consumer power which can potentially transform the palm oil market. We invite all youth leaders, especially in Malaysia, to join us and work together for a better world!”
The young representatives were joined by several speakers from supporting organisations, who together committed with the youth delegates to raise their voices for greater sustainable consumption, to help build trust and drive climate action.
As a part of this year’s summit, RSPO also organised a live finale of the GYSPO Summit 2021 quiz and announced the winners: Anupam Kumar Pandey (India) and Shi Zhou Tan (Singapore) tied for First Place, and Cheptia Amany (Indonesia) was the Runner-Up.
The Global Youth Delegation will now continue their work on #YouthForSustainability in their respective countries.
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).
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|RSPO Communications Team|