Kuala Lumpur, 28 January 2022: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Secretariat is aware of the notice published by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today, which follows the Withhold Release Order (WRO) imposed on Sime Darby Plantations (SDP) in December 2020 on materials imported into the United States.
Following the WRO, the RSPO Secretariat commenced an independent verification process to identify whether the allegations and/or any non-conformities had occurred on any of SDPs certified units. Due to the numerous Malaysian government-mandated Movement Control Orders (MCOs) caused by the pandemic throughout much of 2021, the RSPO Secretariat and independent assessors have been unable to conduct an on-ground verification to date, and therefore, our inquiry is still ongoing.
We wish to reiterate that the RSPO has zero-tolerance for the allegations made in the CBP notice and we will publish the relevant updates pertaining to this matter on our website in due course. Further, we strongly encourage any organisation or agency with information and evidence about human rights violations or violations of the RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) and/or Code of Conduct to submit a formal complaint through our Complaints System.
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:
Acting Head of Marketing & Communications
Director, Stakeholder Engagement & Communications