In Response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainable produced palm oil, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry – oil palm growers, palm oil processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental NGOs and social NGOs – to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
Why sustainable palm oil?
Top Selling vegetable oil.
Palm oil is so versatile that we don’t realize how much it is a part of our everyday lives. It is found in our food, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, plastics and more recently, as a renewable alternative to fossil fuel (biofuel).
Palm oil is now the largest vegetable oil commodity in the world in terms of production (37 million metric tones) and export share (48% of world oils and fats export) – Oil World.
Deforestation, Illegal fires and land conflicts.
The past few decades have seen a rapid expansion of oil palm plantations. Production of palm oil has increased thirtyfold in the forty years from 1966 to 2006. in some laces, this has resulted in the deforestation of large forests and peatlands, which threatens the rich biodiversity in these ecosystems, releases stored carbon into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.
Illegal burning with the intention to clear land for oil palm plantations has caused forest fires and haze. New plantations have also given rise to social conflicts with local communities in cases where land clearing is carried out in customary rights land and other villagers land without prior consultation.
What is sustainable palm oil?
Defining sustainable palm oil.
RSPO has developed and is currently pilot testing a set of standards called the Principles and Criteria (P&C) that define sustainable palm oil production. These standards address the legal, economic, environmental and social requirements of producing sustainable palm oil.
RSPO’s Principles and Criteria (P&C) for sustainable palm oil production are:
- Commitment to transparency
- Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
- Commitment to long-term economic and financial viability
- Use of appropriate best practices by growers and millers
- Environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity
- Responsible consideration of employees and of individuals and communities affected by growers and mills
- Responsible development of new plantings
- Commitment to continuous improvement in key areas of activity
When will sustainable palm oil be available?
RSPO targets to deliver sustainable palm oil to the world in 2008. until work on the Certification Systems and mechanisms for palm oil traceability in the supply chain is completed, no claims to RSPO certification or P&C conformity area allowed.