The RSPO recently hosted its first roadshow event in Subang, Selangor from 25-26 April, to increase awareness of RSPO’s mission and to further encourage local businesses to take the first steps towards adopting sustainable palm oil practices. An estimated 120 participants attended the two-day event, held at Holiday Villa Subang Hotel & Towers.

After an introduction to RSPO and its impacts, the roadshow kicked off with an interactive panel discussion on Strengthening Sustainability in Palm Oil Supply Chains across Malaysia. In addition to guest speaker, RSPO CEO, Datuk Darrel Webber, the panel consisted of various stakeholder members who contribute to the palm oil supply chain.

From food distributors to NGOs, stakeholders share their experience with sustainable palm oil

Starting from the grassroots level, General Manager for Group Sustainability of Wilmar International, Perpetua George, shared her experience in supporting smallholders towards RSPO certification and sustainability efforts. Lisa Li, Global Category Director for Mars Food Malaysia, spoke from the supply chain perspective and shared the company’s experience in getting 100% Mass Balance certified. She also highlighted Mars Food Malaysia’s upcoming Palm Sustainability project, which will focus on human rights and assisting smallholders’ in adopting sustainable agricultural practices. Supin Nigamuni, Operations Manager of Control Union (CU) also spoke about the role of CU as an integrated risk management service provider, from supply chain to end consumer.

The afternoon sessions proceeded with a presentation on RSPO Certification, a segment on the New Planting Procedure (NPP), as well as a presentation on Group Certification for smallholders, given by Sheila Senathirajah, Programme Director for Palm Oil Initiatives, Wild Asia. Closing day one of the event, Benjamin Loh, Sustainable Palm Oil Manager for WWF-Malaysia presented on Sustainability and Palm Oil, outlining the local initiatives WWF-Malaysia is engaging with, to help achieve the overarching goal of making sustainable palm oil the norm, while protecting rainforests, wildlife, and people.

Palm oil smallholder speaks on the impact of RSPO certification

On day two, participants heard from palm oil smallholder farmer, Mr Kiew Yau Joo, from Air Kuning, Perak, who shared his challenges and success stories. Mr Kiew Yau Joo who inherited the farm from his father shared his journey of becoming RSPO certified and how it has benefitted him and his family. Following this segment was a feature presentation on Land Use of Change Analysis (LUCA), as well as an overview of RSPO’s Annual Communications of Progress (ACOP). The Social Impacts relating to the palm oil industry were covered by the RSPO Social Manager, along with a presentation from Loo Siew Wai from Wilmar. They touched on various issues and how- in addition to the review of RSPO Principles & Criteria- policy and guidance documents have been created for members, including the establishment of the Human Rights Working Group and the Labour Task Force. RSPO’s Grievance Manager, Watshalah Naidu, closed the final day of the roadshow with a presentation on how the RSPO’s Complaints System works and how members and the public can access and contribute to the complaints mechanism.

In addition to the presentations, RSPO also hosted workshops each day to provide interested members and non-members with technical expertise and education on various topics. The event received great support and interest from attendees, local media and NGO’s, representing the first of several targeted roadshows planned for Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand throughout 2017.

For more information on upcoming RSPO events, please click here.

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