New palm oil standard safeguards workers and forests

Wilmar leads charge for palm oil’s deforestation-free future
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ tristan tan

A newly ratified palm oil standard designed to improve human rights and halt deforestation has been launched this week by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

The certification was unveiled at the organisation’s 16th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT16) and 15th Annual General Assembly (GA15).

The conference was organised around the key elements of RSPO’s recent ‘Principles and Criteria’ review – halting deforestation, protecting peatlands and strengthening human and labour rights.

The collaborative, multi-stakeholder review process – launched in March 2017 through to October 2018 – was tabled, ratified and voted-in this week by the General Assembly of RSPO.

The review process also resulted in the subsequent development of an additional and separate standard specifically for independent smallholders (due for ratification in November 2019).

Datuk Darrel Webber, RSPO CEO, welcomed the newly adopted, consensus-driven P&C 2018 standard which includes a number of new elements, such as adopting no deforestation through the implementation of the High Carbon Stock Approach.

“Today, we endorsed a universal, transformative, and integrated agenda, intended to strengthen transparency and inclusivity in the RSPO system, increase implementation of the RSPO standards, boost market uptake of sustainable palm oil through shared responsibilities, and create an enabling environment for our shared vision of market transformation,” he said.

“The new P&C is testament to the review process: Two 60-day public consultations, 18 face-to-face events in 13 countries, six Task Force meetings, and an unprecedented participation of civil society – making it the most inclusive review of its kind, to date, and for that we are proud.”

The P&C 2018 comes into effect immediately, with existing RSPO grower members given a one-year transition period to implement the new standards.