On Tuesday, palm oil industry representatives will gather in Berlin for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s first ever European summit. FoodNavigator will be there, moderating a discussion on the credibility of RSPO standards – and is looking to include questions from readers.
The palm oil industry has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, for illegal clearing of forest on peat land, thereby releasing harmful greenhouse gases, and destroying habitats of endangered species. These are among the issues that the RSPO aims to address, working with palm oil growers to change unsustainable practices, and encouraging industrial users to buy certified sustainable palm oil.
Certification criteria include protocols for waste management, reducing fertilizer and pesticide use, preserving high conservation value forest, abiding by local laws, respecting community rights, and ensuring minimum labour standards.
But some have questioned the credibility of its standards, asking whether they go far enough. The standards still allow planting on peat lands and cleared ‘secondary’ forests, for example, and the RSPO has been accused of being too soft on member companies that break the rules.
GreenPalm certificates have been another bone of contention among NGOs and consumer groups, who say that in developed markets at least, companies should have to buy certified sustainable oil, as opposed to GreenPalm certificates, which allow RSPO-certified growers to trade their palm oil for certificates, which are then sold at a premium price. That premium is reinvested in their move toward a fully sustainable supply.
The title of Tuesday’s final afternoon session is “The credibility of certified sustainable palm oil and the responsibility of grower members”
Moderated by FoodNavigator editor Caroline Scott-Thomas, we would like to include questions from our readers – and report on the panel’s answers after the event.
- Marcello Brito, Commercial and Sustainability Director, Agropalma
- Adam Harrison, Vice-President of the RSPO Executive Board and Senior Policy Officer, Food and Agriculture, WWF
- Khairudin Hashim, Group Head, Group Sustainability & Quality Management, Sime Darby Berhad
- Simon Lord, Vice-President of the RSPO Executive Board and Group Director of Sustainability, New Britain Palm Oil
- Gan Lian Tiong, Head of Sustainability PT Musim Mas Group
- Johan Verburg, Member of the RSPO Executive Board and Coordinator Private Sector, Oxfam Novib
- Jerome Frignet, Forests Campaign Officer, Greenpeace France
Please include your questions in the comments below.