The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is calling on governments, including those of the European Union, to back voluntary initiatives such the organization in their efforts for sustainable palm oil to become the norm, and for a deforestation-free supply chain of the commodity.
“RSPO and the committee of market members stress that voluntary initiatives such as the RSPO can only go so far, and that the backing of governments is urgently needed to tip the scale for deforestation-free supply chains; for sustainable palm oil to become the norm,” RSPO said in a press release obtained by The Palm Scribe on Thursday (30/4.)
The organization which has the most widely recognized sustainable palm oil certification said that through their regulatory actions governments had an opportunity to be part of the solution that is already offered by RSPO.
The RSPO on Wednesday released a position paper in response to the European Union Commission’s communication which contains the introduction of different measures and initiatives aimed at reducing the climate impact of European consumers across various commodities, including palm oil, the release said.
The communication, “Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests,” was also aimed at meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UN COP21 Paris Climate Agreement.
“Governments have a critical role to play in educating the public, reframing the palm oil narrative and meeting voluntary industry commitments,” RSPO said.
The major palm oil producing countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia have accused the European Union of discriminating against the commodity, including through plans to gradually eliminate palm oil-based biofuel from its transportation energy sector by 2030.
Also read: Iki Recommends Delaying B40 Program.
Many businesses in the European Union said they have dropped palm-oil containing products from their shelves as part of their efforts to battle deforestation, accusing producers of the commodity as being behind the massive deforestation that have taken place in the past decades.
“To minimize the risk of further global deforestation, RSPO believes that collaboration across agricultural-commodity industries, supply chains, and with governments and NGOs, is fundamental to halting deforestation and protecting forests, wildlife habitats, and areas of biodiversity,” the organization said in its release.
RSPO’s Head of Operations – Europe, Inke van der Sluijs added that “by advocating for certified sustainable palm oil, governments will encourage deforestation-free supply chains and determine the future of our forests.”
Van der Sluijs also said that working in close collaboration with its members, RSPO will continue to develop the tools and champion innovation that help protect the world’s forests and local communities.
At the same time, the RSPO also recognized that sustainable landscapes cannot be achieved without inclusive and sustainable economies, and is working to support more smallholders to become certified in order to improve productivity, raise the income levels among poor farmers, and reduce the risk of land conversion that threatens forests and biodiversity.
“To drive the changes so urgently needed, the RSPO, business and governments must proactively work together to respond to emerging challenges as the landscape continually evolves,” the RSPO concluded.