Smallholders and the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principles and criteria improvements will be the focus of the organization’s annual event, the Roundtable 16 (RT16) meeting, which will be held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia on November 12-15, 2018.
“This year we will focus on the development of RSPO principles and criteria that we have been studying for approximately 18 months,” RSPO Indonesia Director Tiur Rumondang said in a written interview with The Palm Scribe.
Rumondang explained that several points in the principle and criteria (P&C) draft to be voted by the members are related to the cessation of deforestation, protection, and conservation of peatlands, and respect for human rights. The current RSPO P&C was the last set in 2013.
She added that the new P&C plan was touted as “the most inclusive multi-stakeholder initiative, aimed to address the gaps existing in the standard, through clearer language and stricter indicators of compliance.”
In accordance with the meeting theme, “A Renewed Commitment to Achieving Market Transformation”, RT16 brings together key players in the palm oil industry, such as producers, suppliers, retailers, investors, and environmental activists, to discuss issues, challenges, and opportunities related to sustainable palm oil production.
The dynamic development of the palm oil industry makes the Roundtable event each year has its own characteristics, Rumondang said.
RT15, for example, carried the theme “Inclusiveness and accountability” which aimed to increase transparency of and cooperation between oil palm industry players throughout the world.
In addition, RT15 also built a basic foundation for elements focusing on reviewing the organization’s P&C.
“Last year’s RT was a time of self-reflection and self-criticism regarding past and current practices, with the aim of improving them and finding ways to get solutions to local problems in the context of international frameworks, such as those provided by the RSPO,” Rumondang said.
Besides the establishment of new P&C, RT16 will also discuss how to attract more oil palm smallholders into the RSPO through specific strategies and standards, currently being prepared, for them.
The annual Roundtable from the RSPO which has been held since 2003 has progressed in time and is now one of the momenta for every player in the palm oil industry to gather and determine the vision of the industry.
The first RT held in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 was attended by more than 200 participants from 16 countries.
“The general aim and concept of each Roundtable event are to involve, discuss, deliberate, collaborate and reach consensus on various current and future issues, and find solutions related to the cultivation, production, and trade of sustainable palm oil,” Rumondang explained.