The Outreach Working Group (OWG) under the Market Development Standing Committee (MDSC) is designed to encourage members to address complex and difficult challenges and work towards developing solutions for the uptake of certified sustainable palm oil. As a multi stakeholder, participatory group that works on the basis of consensus, all members feed into the decision-making process.
The objective of the MDSC OWG is to provide guidance to the secretariat on outreach, engagement and the communications strategy via the Terms of Reference (ToR) and work programmes of the MDSC.
Scope of Work
In principle the most critical objectives of this Working Group include strategies that address the following priorities:
- Continuous engagement of upstream, downstream and smallholder members.
- Membership increase in strategically identified geographies and constituents
- Providing recommendations to the MDSC based on reviews of RSPO communications and related strategies, including demystifying and clarifying misconceptions about the organization and its mission, no and free-from claims, and the production, availability, suitability, and benefits of sustainable palm oil.
- Recommend and assist with the recruitment of financial institutions and NGOs for membership in the RSPO.
- Safeguard the reliability of claims used on the basis of agreed rules and guidelines.
- Continued awareness in high profile regions/countries such as Europe and the United States, while building awareness in potential markets for sustainable palm oil like Asia (particularly India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia), Latin America, Africa (particularly Nigeria and South Africa) and the Middle East.
- Review global engagement of RSPO-relevant internal and external stakeholders which may include other multi-stakeholder and multilateral organisations with similar goals.
- Encourage engagement with relevant government bodies that can help the RSPO achieve its goal to transform the markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm.
The Working Group can undertake specific assignments within its areas of responsibility or may take responsibility that is assigned to them for Working Groups or Task Forces created by a Board of Governors (BoG) decision or a General Assembly decision or resolution.
Unless otherwise specified, the mandate of all Working Groups shall be up to two (2) years, at which time it shall be reviewed by the MDSC.
Task Forces will generally be formed to address specific, measurable and time-limited objectives, including a date for winding-up of their work and normally be related to a WG (scope). Task Forces that are established as part of, or in response to, GA resolutions should be assigned a timetable for their work that allows for reporting back to the following year’s GA. Membership of Task Forces may be weighted more towards technical knowledge of the topic under discussion than broad stakeholder involvement.
Market Transformation in India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia (Big4)
The objective of this workstream is to be a catalyst for RSPO’s market transformation and shared responsibilities initiatives in Big4 to increase the uptake of CSPO in this region and close the demand-supply gaps.
The climate crisis is looming large and causing unprecedented business (financial, reputational etc.) environmental, social and risks. It is our shared responsibility to step up efforts to increase the uptake of CSPO in the largest palm oil production and consumption countries. We call on companies, civil society and consumers to scale up adoption of certification, drive awareness, & strengthen capacity in key markets. One of the ways to do so is the application of RSPO’s ‘Rules on Market Communications and Claims’.
RSPO certification is generally considered as the gold standard for sustainable production and serves as a beacon for other agricultural commodities. However two of the largest importers of palm oil, namely, India and China, have continued to be the “leakage market” for unsustainable palm oil. Efforts from the western markets, namely, EU, UK and North America need to be supplemented by more actions in Big4 markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. It will be a huge challenge to protect the rainforests and support people’s livelihood if the Big4 countries continue to consume more and more unsustainable palm oil.