Photo Credit: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which has the world’s most widely recognized palm oil sustainability standard, said that it welcomed new certification initiatives as a form of shared responsibility towards sustainability in the industry, it’s Chief Executive Officer told The Palm Scribe on Friday (28/6).
“The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) agrees with the contention that more needs to be done to make sustainability the norm. To achieve this, we call on all actors in the palm oil supply chain to commit to the essence of shared responsibility; a key element adopted in our strengthened standards in November last year,” RSPO Chief Executive Officer Darrel Webber, said.
The executive was commenting on the launch of The Accountability Framework Initiatives (AFI), set up by a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help companies address the “fundamental issues” in global supply chains by providing an online platform for companies to tackle ethical issues they face.
Launched on June 11, 2019, AFI is a partnership of 14 social and environmental NGOs, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), ProForest, and Rainforest Alliance. It is targetting companies involved in agricultural and forest commodities, including soy, palm oil, beef, and cocoa.
The framework claims to be a response to “a lack of action and accountability regarding companies’ commitments to deforestation and human rights” and requires players to adhere to “required guidelines” to determine their strong commitment.
Webber remained positive when asked as to whether such a new initiative was redundant for the palm oil industry, saying that “Together with our more than 4,300 members, we have embarked on a continuous journey to make sustainable palm oil and market transformation a shared responsibility.”
He added RSPO has stringent systems in place to ensure that RSPO Certified plantations abide by the agreed required standards. These include third-party certification, a system of accreditation for certification bodies, supply chain certification to the end user, traceability provided via the PalmTrace system, and an open and transparent grievance mechanism.
While RSPO is seen as having the strongest set of requirements, the market also recognizes other standards, including national standards such as the Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil or the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil, the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC), the Sustainability Agriculture Network (SAN) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).