The Palm Scribe

Calls for Concerted, Focused Efforts to Bring Sustainability in Palm Oil Production

An ongoing annual European conference organized by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), heard calls for concerted and focused efforts of all stakeholders in the palm oil sector to bring about changes in production method so as ensure sustainability.

The sixth annual European Roundtable (EURT) conference was held in Paris on Tuesday (26/6) as palm oil remained a topic of debate among consumers and policymakers and as the market was increasingly seeking commitment of no deforestation, no development on peat, no fires, and no human rights violations in palm oil production, an RSPO press release said.

Darrel Webber, CEO of RSPO

Addressing the conference, RSPO CEO Datuk Darrel Webber said that key to meet the expectations was to make sure commodities, including palm oil, are produced in a sustainable manner.

“We acknowledge that improving standards alone is not enough –  only with a concerted and focused effort on achieving demand for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil can we stimulate a change in production methods,” Webber said according to an RSPO press release from Paris.

Webber also reminded attendees of the potential negative ‘unintended consequences’ that can arise from companies removing palm oil from their supply chains. Oil Palm is the most efficient vegetable oil producing crop and relying on other crops would entail much more land and therefore heighten the possibility of deforestation.

During her video address, Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, called for ‘a collaboration among importers and producers. A collaboration across Europeans and non-Europeans; a collaboration across the public sector and private sector; a collaboration across civil society and the financial sector.

“All of you have a role to play and the solution will not be found unless each of you brings your particular background, your particular skillset, and your collective determination to actually solving this issue in a timely fashion.”

During the event, RSPO took the opportunity to launch “the Sustainability College,” an interactive, online, knowledge sharing platform. It featuring courses on RSPO’s key sustainability topics such as the Role of Certification; Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC); and New Planting Procedure (NPP).The platform aims to increase awareness and understanding of these topics in a unique and engaging way.

The sixth conference brings into focus the need to adopt an inclusive approach at each stage of market transformation, RSPO said in the release. This is fundamental to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the advancement of a more inclusive, sustainable future.

Over 400 representatives from the global palm oil industry, including corporate leaders in sustainability, financial institutions, policymakers, academics, and social and environmental NGOs from around the world attended the conference held at the Palais des Congrès de Paris.

RSPO is working towards making sustainable palm oil the norm through a process of market transformation and has a goal to reach 100 percent Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in Europe by 2020.

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