Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Online Debate on RSPO and Palm Oil Sustainability

Darrel Weber, RSPO Secretary General
On 21 May, Holly Shrumm (Natural Justice) joined an online debate hosted by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) on a range of questions concerning palm oil sustainability. The debate was moderated by acclaimed writer and journalist Fred Pearce and the speakers included Darrel Weber (Secretary General, RSPO), Robert Hii (Outreach Manager, Palm Oil Consumers Action), and Lorinda Jane and Michelle Nicol (Products on Australian Shelves that Contain Palm Oil).

The discussion revolved primarily around the following topics: 
  • Challenges, including the complexity of the supply chain, lack of consumer confidence in RSPO-certified palm oil in certain 'developed' markets, and the overall balance that needs to be struck in multi-stakeholder processes between high standards and participation of key players in an evolving industry;
  • Gains and successes, including the Netherlands' promising approach to managing supply logistics, special schemes to encourage participation of smallholders in RSPO, and a functioning complaints system and Dispute Settlement Facility; and
  • Suggestions for improvement, including stronger human rights standards, improved collaboration between smallholders to ensure they can become certified, introducing time-bound schedules for reporting and complaints resolution, and ensuring compliance with the RSPO Code of Conduct and Principles and Criteria.
Mr. Weber noted in closing that a new website (betterpalmoil.org) will be launched on 1 June 2013 to enable consumers to better understand the products they purchase. The full online debate is available at www.rspodebate.com and additional questions can be sent to communications.eu (at) rspo.org.

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