Jakarta, 14 November 2011 – The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a multi-stakeholder organisation that promotes sustainable practices in the palm oil industry, today proudly announced the appointment of Prof. Dr. Ir. Bungaran Saragih as its new Advisor in Indonesia, after seeking for the best candidate for almost a year.
Prof. Saragih’s credential as a former Indonesian Minister of Agriculture and a renowned academic in the same field places him at the forefront of Indonesia’s thriving agriculture sector, of which palm oil is a major part. As such, Prof. Saragih is well-positioned to support RSPO’s mission to promote sustainable palm oil in the world’s largest palm oil producing country.
Darrel Webber, RSPO Secretary General, said: “The appointment of Prof. Saragih marks an exciting chapter in RSPO’s history. His macro-level knowledge of the Indonesian palm oil sector would enable RSPO to further discern the context of the Indonesian palm oil stakeholders and therefore providing the RSPO with rich content for effective decisions, policies and initiatives. The Indonesian palm oil industry is an important part in realising our mission to make sustainable palm oil the norm all over the world, and it is therefore crucial to have someone esteemed and respected within the sector to bolster this.”
“Besides having unrivalled credentials in the agriculture sector, both as a government official and as an academic, Prof. Saragih is known for his work with civil society. He is a good ambassador for sustainability and shares the same values as RSPO. We are privileged to have him on board.” added Darrel Webber.
RSPO President, Jan Kees Vis also commented on this recent development: “The appointment of Professor Bungaran as Advisor to RSPO is undoubtedly a significant impetus to the cause RSPO is committed to. Indonesia continues to be a good benchmark for new emerging markets and has already played an instrumental role by contributing over 40% of RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil around the world. This appointment clearly attests RSPO’s continued steadfast commitment to all its Indonesian members who have and will continue to deliver world class standards in best practices towards sustainable palm oil.”
“Right from the very beginning, I have been committed to the RSPO vision and mission. We have to advance RSPO to be committed towards the paradigm of sustainable development without slanting towards pure conservationist and or pure developmentalist. The world particularly developing countries can't afford extremist approach for development.” Prof. Saragih comments on his appointment.
Prof. Saragih was a prominent government official in Indonesia, having served as Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Forestry in between the years of 2000 to 2004. In recognition of his significant contribution during his tenure in the government, he was awarded the Satyalancana Development Award by the President of the Republic of Indonesia in 2002.
Prof. Saragih also has an illustrious academic background. He served as a lecturer at Bogor Agricultural Institute, which is Indonesia’s finest academic and research institution on agriculture, from 1968 – 2010. Since 2010, he became Professor Emeritus at the Bogor Agricultural Institute.
He presently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Borneo Orang-utan Survival Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1991 that devotes itself to promoting the conservation of Borneo orang-utans and their habitat in collaboration with local stakeholders.
Prof. Saragih earned his PhD in Socio-economics from the North Caroline State University, Raleigh, USA in 1980, his Master of Arts in Economics from the same University in 1977, and his Bachelor degree in Socio-economics from the Bogor Agricultural Institute in 1971.
In response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably produced palm oil, 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. The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with a satellite office in Jakarta.
RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry – 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 – to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
Such multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the Executive Board and project level 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 to bring group-specific agendas to the roundtable, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders and business competitors to work together towards a common objective and making decisions by consensus.
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