RSPO responds to the European Commission communication ‘Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests’

Zoetermeer, The Netherlands, 29 April 2020: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has today released a position paper – ‘Delivering Deforestation-free Sustainable Palm Oil’ – endorsed by the RSPO Market Development Standing Committee, in response to the European Commission’s communication, ‘Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests’. RSPO welcomes the introduction of different measures and initiatives that aim to reduce the climate impact of European consumers across various commodities, including palm oil, and to work towards the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UN COP21 Paris Climate Agreement.

RSPO and the committee of market members stress that voluntary initiatives such as the RSPO can only go so far, and that the backing of governments is urgently needed to tip the scale for deforestation-free supply chains; for sustainable palm oil to become the norm. Regulatory action is an opportunity for governments to be part of the solution that is already offered by RSPO, and propagate company compliance and due diligence, as well as create a level playing field for the companies. Governments have a critical role to play in educating the public, reframing the palm oil narrative, and meeting voluntary industry commitments. To minimise the risk of further global deforestation, RSPO believes that collaboration across agricultural-commodity industries, supply chains, and with governments and NGOs, is fundamental to halting deforestation and protecting forests, wildlife habitats, and areas of biodiversity.

RSPO’s Head of Operations – Europe, Inke van der Sluijs said, “In these uncertain and difficult times, we cannot stray from our sustainability commitments for 2020 and beyond. By advocating for certified sustainable palm oil, governments will encourage deforestation-free supply chains and determine the future of our forests.” Working in close collaboration with its members,  RSPO will continue to develop the tools and champion innovation that help protect the world’s forests and local communities.

Through the 2018 RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C), tools like GeoRSPO; an interactive mapping platform displaying the concession maps of all RSPO grower members, globally, RSPO’s Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) Hotline where, in confidence, HRDs can lodge complaints with the RSPO Complaints Panel (CP), the RSPO and its members continue to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and to protecting people and planet. The RSPO also recognises that sustainable landscapes cannot be achieved without inclusive and sustainable economies, and is working to support more smallholders to become certified in order to improve productivity, raise the income levels among poor farmers, and reduce the risk of land conversion that threatens forests and biodiversity.

To drive the changes so urgently needed, the RSPO, business and governments must proactively work together to respond to emerging challenges as the landscape continually evolves. RSPO welcomes the communication from the EU Commission on ‘Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests’ and offers support in addressing the challenges identified by both the Commission and the European Parliament.

RSPO Delivering Deforestation-Free Sustainable Palm Oil

About RSPO:

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, kindly contact:

Name: Fay Richards

Position: Global Communications Manager – Europe & Africa

T:+44 (0) 7704485720

[email protected]

Name: Dan Strechay

Position: Global Outreach & Engagement Director

T:+ 1 973 809 8912

[email protected]

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