KUALA LUMPUR, November 25, 2014: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) 12th Annual Roundtable Meeting (RT12) which ended in Kuala Lumpur on 20 November has emphasized the need for further collaboration and convergence of ideas among stakeholders to create a new and sustainable industrial landscape.
The conference themed “Sustainability: What’s Next?” which brought together more than 800 delegates from 40 countries was held against the backdrop of various challenges facing the sustainability agenda that calls for increased collaboration across the entire spectrum of stakeholders – involving growers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, consumer goods companies and academia to seek solutions to complex problems.
The deliberations and discussions over the three days also highlighted the need to have the courage and willingness to focus on long-term horizons and not be too obsessed with short-term results.
RSPO’s Secretary General, Darrel Webber said the way forward for the sustainability agenda is about collaboration and convergence of ideas.
“A convergence of great ideas does not have to be perfect but it does create inspirations that will take the various initiatives to greater heights.
“Every member of the RSPO should now move together on that path, aware of the responsibility we share to mobilize collaboration and convergence of individuals, communities and organizations to take up positive actions towards greater sustainability,” he said at the closing of RT12.
Webber said that despite several shortcomings, the RSPO is still the most creative, diverse and innovative open network aimed at bringing together the various stakeholders to discuss sustainability in the palm oil industry.
“Today, we are a force to be reckoned with. Let’s keep on working together to transform RSPO into a space with the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed, and to implement them through our global collaboration. This could very well be our most important competitive advantage,” he added.
Chairman of RSPO, Biswaranjan Sen said that while the palm oil industry and RSPO had made significant progress in a short period of time, there was much more to be done to move the sustainability agenda to greater heights.
“The RSPO now has more than 1,900 members from over 70 countries. This shows an increasing acknowledgement of the importance of the role of RSPO.
“However, there is much more that needs to be done to increase the global production of certified and sustainable palm oil from the current 18 percent,” he said.
The Chair of the RSPO Board of Governors also announced that the RSPO will be more stringent with members who fail to comply with the organisation’s requirements: “If failing to report within six weeks from notice, member companies who have ignored annual reporting requirements for the last three years will be expelled while a suspension will be imposed on two years non-submitters”.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and RSPO have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that aims to raise the global awareness of sustainable palm oil and generate market demand for an important commodity that has the potential to play a key role in preserving the earth’s biodiversity.
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Palm Oil Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT) which tracks the performance of oil palm growers against key indicators of environmental and social best practices was also launched during RT12.
The General Assembly (GA) of the RSPO which met in conjunction with RT12 also passed four resolutions:
- To amend the RSPO Statutes and Code of Conduct which among others allows the Board of Governors to bestow Honorary Membership status to individuals who are outstanding in their service and to allow the Secretary General to act on behalf of the Board to terminate or suspend members
- To change reporting period of Annual Communication of Progress (ACOP) and definition of clear reporting rules which changes ACOP reporting period towards the calendar year January to December in harmony with the Green Palm trading platform for enhanced consistency, credibility and better quality of reports
- Declaration of mills in relation to the transparency of the mill origin to ensure better traceability. This resolution requires origin of the certified crude palm oil or palm kernel mills to be declared on the Green Palm certificate as well as the RSPO E trace system.
- The GA also confirmed the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the auditors for RSPO for the financial year ending 30 June 2015
NOTES TO EDITOR
18% of world's palm oil production is now RSPO certified
The current estimated annual production capacity of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil is 11.1 million metric tons, approximately 18% of global crude palm oil. Spread over 2.53 million hectares of certified production area, about 50% of the world's current RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil production capacity comes from Indonesia, followed by 41% from Malaysia, 5.6% from Papua New Guinea and the remaining 4.2% from Solomon Islands, Ivory Coast, Thailand, Guatemala, Ecuador, Brazil, Cambodia and Colombia.
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 satellite offices in Jakarta, London and Zoetermeer (NL).
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 make decisions by consensus.
For further information, kindly contact:
Contact for RSPO Secretariat:
Acting Communications Director
T: +60 3 2302 1500
Contact for Europe:
European Director of Outreach and engagement
T: +44 (0)208 282 6069
Contact for Indonesia:
RSPO Indonesia Director
T: +62 21 5794 0222
Contact for Malaysia:
Hill & Knowlton Strategies, Kuala Lumpur
T: +60 3 2026 0899