The Palm Scribe

Darrel Webber: Incremental Innovation a Must to Mainstream Ideas, Including in Palm Oil Sector

Darrel Webber, Chief Executive Officer of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) saying that incremental innovation is crucial in mainstreaming ideas in palm oil industry like any other sector at the opening of the 16th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT16) here on Wednesday (14/11).

“Incremental innovation is extremely important. Incremental innovation is profitable because it allows for mainstreaming,” Webber said.

Darrel Webber speaks at his season in RT16


The palm oil industry has been the subject of constant attacks, being accused of various misdeed such as destroying the environment and violations of human rights and the multi-stakeholder, non-profit organization is striving to promote sustainable palm oil as the norm to counter those accusations.

Webber said that this organization, since its establishment in 2004, has not stopped innovating.  From initiating a sustainable palm oil revolution when it was formed, launching the first definition of what a sustainable palm oil is, creating a new standard for the industry, coming out with a new planting procedure, outsourcing certification to a third party, continuously improving its Principles and Criteria, improving transparency and addressing the challenges of embracing independent smallholders.

He deemed that one of the reasons that have enabled RSPO to not stop innovating is that it had managed to create an ecosystem that empowered it, compelled it to innovate. He also said that the organization must play a role that can ensure changes.

“Today we are trying to provide solutions of using High Carbon Stocks and its application in High Forest Coverage Landscape. It is going to be challenging, it is going to be extremely difficult but it is a conversation that has to be recognized, goes beyond palm oil, we should be talking about other commodities and other human development as well,” he said.

Webber said that if RSPO was really for permanent change then it just made sure that it could play a role to encourage constant change.

He said that RSPO could learn from the revolutions that have changed the course of history as well as the mainstreaming of smartphones. He said the two showed that in changing ideas, a mere revolution would not suffice, but there was also the need to make the ideas take hold in the mind and hearts of people.

“Revolutionary ideas that can stand the test of time, inspire the masses, should be our ambition,” he said.

He called on members who would vote on a new RSPO Principles and Criteria, to vote for change, including continuously improving the organization and its standards.

“An ecosystem that pushes us to constantly improve and innovate, move forward to bring ideas into the mainstream,” Webber said on his hope for the path the RSPO would take.

RSPO gathers stakeholders from the seven sectors of the palm oil industry, including producers, processors, traders, manufacturers, retailers, banks, investors and NGOs,  The RT 16 which theme this year is “A Renewed Commitment to Achieving Market Transformation” will conclude later on Wednesday, and on Thursday it would be followed by RSPO’s 15th Annual General Assembly which will vote on a number of resolution, including the new proposed Principle and Criteria.

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