Palm Oil Watchdog Calls for Sustainable Ecosystem

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10 Nov 2016 --- The non profit watchdog for the palm oil industry is urging NGOs, policy makers and academics to closely collaborate to achieve a sustainable palm oil ecosystem for now and the future. 

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) latest conference (RT14) emphasized social issues within the palm oil producing regions, related to contract labor, gender, migration and occupational health and safety and how the whole supply chain and invested stakeholders can contribute in addressing these issues.

RT14 - which was held in Thailand and attended by 800 representatives from leading figures in the palm oil industry, corporate leaders in sustainability, financial institutions, policymakers, and academics as well as social and environmental NGOs from 46 countries - was all about moving towards a truly sustainable future for the industry and encouraged people to share knowledge, innovations and ideas as the official theme was “Learning to Live Together”. 

“Inclusive partnership is more crucial than ever at this stage as we embrace the concept of market transformation in committing of not leaving anyone behind. Stakeholders must increase their participation to improve effectiveness. Now comes the hard question. How do we ensure these certification schemes are benefiting sustainability? Only through strong collaboration and collective action, we will be able to achieve this vision,” says RSPO CEO, Datuk Darrel Webber.

“There are over three million oil palm smallholders worldwide, who account for 30 percent of the total global production of palm oil while making up 40 percent of the land coverage used for palm oil cultivation. As part of RSPO’s efforts to support the smallholders, we have implemented various activities and local outreach in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and more recently Colombia and Ghana.”

The RSPO also launched a video campaign to promote its new trademark mobile App, which allows consumers to identify and geolocate products carrying the RSPO trademark in a bid to increase consumer awareness on certified sustainable palm oil and to help consumers have a say with their shopping choices.

In addition, the progress made on jurisdictional approach were also highlighted at the conference. In particular, the government of Ecuador achieved a major milestone by demonstrating firm support of sustainable palm oil as the Ecuadorian Amazon is one of Ecuador’s highest producing regions. Effort is concentrated on transforming parts of the landscape that have been deforested for agricultural use with a transversal focus on sustainability. 

Launching a pilot program utilizing RSPO principles, the government has established coalitions with stakeholders such as palm oil companies and non-profit organizations like Ancupa and UN-REDD (UN-Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

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