Approval granted based on meeting set targets and outcomes
KUALA LUMPUR, 24 MARCH 2020 – Today, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) granted membership to Seaholm Corporation (Seaholm), a Guatemalan oil palm grower and palm oil producer. Seaholm’s membership has consolidated existing RSPO member companies Santa Rosa and Olmeca, while adding four additional companies that include Reforestadora de Palmas de El Petén, S.A. (RESPA).
Interim Chief Executive Officer of the RSPO, Bakhtiar Talhah, stated “Our mission has always been to transform the palm oil industry, from the oil palm producer to the end product on a grocery store shelf. And while we acknowledge that this is a controversial move, we have confidence in our systems and the mechanisms in place. We seek to work with stakeholders that are committed to improving their practices to meet the requirements of RSPO and the production of sustainable palm oil.”
RSPO has been working closely with Seaholm and its six subsidiaries who have been granted RSPO membership, to develop a set of transparent commitments that must be implemented by the company upon membership approval. These commitments are publicly available and subject to fulfillment of requirements that will be reviewed after 12-months for compliance. If all requirements are not met at the end of the year, the membership could be suspended or terminated.
The membership requirements take into account on-going legal, environmental, and social matters, which the company has been involved in over the past few years and are of public knowledge.
RSPO Interim CEO, Bakhtiar Talhah concluded, “We reiterate that RSPO cannot just cater to perfect companies if we are to achieve true market transformation. We must work with all stakeholders in the industry to improve their practices and to meet the requirements of RSPO. The RSPO system is based on transparency and involvement from our different stakeholders. We welcome a conversation between all parties on what it will take to achieve market transformation or if we instead work to create a niche certification system for select producers and select consumers.”
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, please contact:
Name: Dan Strechay
Position: Global Outreach & Engagement Director
Name: Francisco Naranjo
Position: Latin American Director