On 3-5 March, the eighth Latin American Conference and the second Mexican Oil Palm Congress, organised by RSPO and Femexpalma, were held in Campeche, Mexico. The conference welcomed more than 650 participants from over 14 countries, who met to discuss the future of sustainability in the palm oil industry in the region and the implications of reaching 2020 targets, amongst other related topics.

The conference was attended by international speakers, representing organisations such as HSBC, PepsiCo, Proforest, Oxfam, Bimbo, Earthworm, FIRA, Fedepalma, Indepaz, Grepalma, coming from the United States, Europe, Asia and across Latin America. In their interventions, they shared their knowledge and experience on relevant topics such as High Conservation Values, Decent Living Wage, Human Rights, Grower Associations perspectives, Smallholders, Sustainable Finance, among many others. All presentations can be found here.

Panelists reflected on the progress made in the region and on various topics related to RSPO. For instance, at the panel “RSPO – A Tool That Transforms”, Alejandro Rozo from Hacienda la Cabaña commented that “we recognise the importance of implementing the RSPO and we have received support on how to do it from organisations such as Solidaridad and Fedepalma”. Likewise, Leonardo González from Indepaz mentioned that the implementation of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) has been crucial for respecting human rights in the palm oil industry, while reflecting on the FPIC process.

Juan Pablo Ozaeta explained to delegates how Oxfam Guatemala is carrying out work to support human rights defenders. Ozaeta commented that human rights defenders are not an enemy of the palm oil industry, but rather “people with whom we can have a dialogue to reduce social conflicts."

Reflecting on the success of the event, Francisco Naranjo, RSPO Director for Latin America, commented: ¨The eighth RSPO Latin American Conference shows RSPO’s regional leadership in the debate of sustainable production and consumption for not only palm oil but also other agricultural commodities. Having seen the high level of commitment and collaboration between the stakeholders who attended the event, I am convinced that, in the short term, Latin America will be globally labeled as the leading region in sustainability within the palm oil industry.”

The RSPO team would like to thank all the attendees, speakers and trainers for their participation and we hope that this experience has been as fruitful as it was for us.

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