New sustainability effort launched for palm oil industry

palm oil CIFOR flickrWWF has lauded the move by Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil to enhance sustainability in the industry. (Image source: CIFOR/Flickr)Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has launched RSPO Next, a platform for growers to demonstrate best practice in sustainable palm oil

RSPO Next is a voluntary add-on to the RSPO standard. It provides a platform for innovative growers not just to showcase best practices in sustainable palm oil, but also helps buyers deliver on their “no deforestation” commitments.

The move has been welcomed by WWF, and at the organisations’ 13th annual meeting, RSPO Next was featured as the next step for companies that want to build on the RSPO Principles & Criteria.

“Continuous improvement was a core design feature of the RSPO, and RSPO Next is a tangible demonstration of this principle being followed,” said Adam Harrison, WWF’s lead on palm oil. “WWF calls on all RSPO stakeholders to do their part to ensure the success of RSPO Next. Palm oil growers need to commit to implement RSPO Next, palm oil buyers need to commit to buying it and NGOs and banks need to commit to support it,” he added.

At the meeting, the RSPO also focused on how to better deliver on the existing standard, which currently captures 20 per cent of the palm oil industry, representing 12mon tonnes of palm oil and more than 3.2mn ha of land managed to the organisation’s environmental and social standards.

Several districts in Indonesia and Malaysia came forward to pioneer RSPO’s ‘jurisdictional approach’ to certification, which applies to a district as a whole rather than individual mills and plantations. The process brings local governments, palm oil companies, and smallholders together to jointly pursue the same goal and is considered a crucial tool to make it easier for companies to act responsibly.

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