PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – For nearly twenty years, RSPO has been a pioneer in initiating global change in the production and consumption of sustainable palm oil. Starting from 200 members in 16 countries in 2004, RSPO has now experienced significant growth with more than 5,700 members spread across more than 100 countries worldwide.
At the Annual Roundtable Conference (RT2023) themed “Partners for the Next 20”, RSPO made new history illustrating the positive impact that has been made over nearly two decades through the collaborative efforts of RSPO members and partners.
RT2023 serves as a platform for collective action to address key challenges in the sustainable palm oil industry, including climate change mitigation efforts, increasing the use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), protecting labor rights, and facilitating the inclusion of smallholders in environmentally friendly supply chains in compliance with applicable international regulations.
RSPO CEO, Joseph D’Cruz in his speech highlighted that through nearly two decades of voluntary action, RSPO members have come together to improve sustainability standards in the industry. The impact achieved collectively is increasingly recognized by stakeholders outside the industry, and there is a noticeable shift in the narrative on sustainable palm oil in favor of RSPO’s efforts.
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“As a global partnership for sustainable palm oil, we must continue to move forward, explore new territories, and evolve. Today, there is an opportunity for us to go beyond standards and certification systems, and develop tools that enable the industry to demonstrate sustainability in line with the demands of today’s markets, regulators, and customers,” Joseph D’Cruz said.
The RSPO’s key achievements over the past two decades continue to be notable, including the increase in global certified land area from just 125,000 hectares in 2008 to 4.9 million hectares spread across 23 countries by 2023.
Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) supply reached a new milestone of 15.4 million metric tons, while RSPO Trademark licenses have increased dramatically to more than 1,600 licenses in over 100 countries and regions, with growth seen in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, indicating huge opportunities in these markets. The RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF) has provided US$ 4.2 million to support 44,203 smallholders in 12 countries since 2013.
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Representing 40% of total palm oil production in major producing countries, smallholders are at the forefront of RT2023, focusing on opportunities and avenues to facilitate greater inclusion in green supply chains through compliance with published international regulations.
In a series of charting new territories, the RSPO Certification, Trade, and Traceability System (CTTS), was launched in October 2023 with the formation of a tripartite consortium.
2023 with the formation of a tripartite consortium of global agricultural technology experts, exemplifies how the organization is advancing and digitizing traceability systems. It is rooted in best-in-field solutions that will be able to meet current needs and anticipate rapidly evolving needs in the future, to meet increasingly stringent global regulations, starting with the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), and is actively engaging with the European Commission to share knowledge on this topic with all relevant parties.
Meanwhile, Anne Rosenbarger and José Roberto Montenegro, Chair of the RSPO Board of Governors, jointly called for the successes of the past 20 years to be leveraged and further enhanced through collective action and innovative approaches.
“The RSPO is evolving strategically to meet current and future challenges, including regulatory and market changes, as well as enhancing the auditability and applicability of our current standards and Assurance systems to readily connect with broader industry sustainability platforms,” Anne said.
Following a comprehensive and consultative review of the 2018 RSPO Principles and Criteria and the 2019 RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard, a technical revision process is underway to produce an updated set of standards by 2024. (P3)