The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) recently hosted the “RSPO Outreach Programme” in Sandakan, Sabah. Almost 100 participants came together from various sectors of the palm oil industry including producers, social NGOs, certification bodies, millers, manufactures, outgrowers and smallholders. The event was held to foster dialogue among these stakeholders, to encourage them to commit to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) and create better awareness of the importance of sustainable palm oil practices at local, regional, national and international levels.

RSPO Outreach Programme supports commitments from  Malaysian state government

The “RSPO Outreach Programme” is part of an outreach and engagement series under the RSPO flagship, focused on creating awareness of the importance of promoting CSPO. After a successful outreach programme in Accra, Ghana (September), Guatemala (August) and Jambi, Indonesia (October), the RSPO hosted the event in Sandakan, Sabah to reach out to new palm oil stakeholders. The event supported the call of the state government of Sabah to have all crude palm oil (CPO) produced in Sabah to be certified sustainable per RSPO standards by 2025. Last November, the Government of Sabah launched a 10-year jurisdictional program calling for all palm oil stakeholders based in Sabah to produce only certified sustainable palm oil. The landmark initiative implemented one of the world’s first jurisdictional commitments to sustainable palm oil production, marking a very important step forward for the future of the industry.

Number of participants indicate need for expanding outreach

Speaking at the event, RSPO Technical Director Salahudin Yaacob said, “We at RSPO, are continuing our effort to educate and inform relevant stakeholders within the palm oil industry. Today’s event saw a large number of participants from the growers, palm oil companies, millers, social NGOs, manufacturers and many more. This indicates that there is a huge need for us to go out there to educate about CSPO and why it is important to be part of the RSPO certification practices.”

“These outreach events have successfully reinforced the need for sustainable certification and we see more and more growers are participating and taking more interest in the certification process,” he added.

Programme itinerary

The event seminars included topics such as new planting procedures (NPP), remediation and compensation procedures (RaCP), RSPO Group Certification processes and updates on the latest RSPO initiatives. Participants were also given a sneak preview into RSPO NEXT and its progress. The sessions were facilitated by RSPO’s Jan Van Driel, Julia Majail, Yohannes Izmi Ryan and Salahudin Yaacob, who discussed current challenges facing the industry.

Seeking solutions to RSPO certification challenges

“We are constantly asked how to deal with growers who have challenges with the certification process. Looking to the future, the ability to overcome these challenges lies within the millers and growers themselves. The demand for certified palm oil will only grow, as more and more companies and countries pledge for 100% CSPO uptake. Growers who decide not to be part of this process will risk being left behind,” explains Julia Majail during her presentation of RSPO Group Certification.

RSPO addresses smallholder concerns

Due to challenges faced by smallholders, the common assumption is that RSPO certification is often too burdensome for these growers. Realising this, the RSPO has been working hard to facilitate smallholders certification journey and ensure that opportunities are provided to them so that they can progress and keep up with larger growers. As of October 2016, RSPO certified production is 11.45 million metric tonnes or 18% of global palm oil. Ten percent of this is produced by smallholders. Currently, a total of 134,050 smallholders are certified globally.

For more details on this and other initiatives under the “RSPO Outreach Programme” events, please visit our website.


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