What Is RSPO?
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is an organisation that was established to promote the growth and use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).
In doing so, it aims to make sustainable palm oil the norm globally.
The RSPO brings together palm oil producers, processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, and environmental and social non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop and implement a global standard for sustainable palm oil.
This global standard is set down in the Principles and Criteria on Sustainable Palm Oil Production (a list of requirements to help ensure that palm oil production is economically viable, environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial), which members are required to comply with.
In addition to developing and implementing the Principles and Criteria, the RSPO’s activities focus on:
· 1] Engaging and committing all stakeholders throughout the palm oil supply chain, including governments and consumers
· 2] Advancing the production, procurement, finance and use of products that contain CSPO
· 3] Monitoring and evaluating the economic, environmental and social impacts of the uptake of CSPO.
According to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2017, almost 12 million tons, or 21 percent of the global supply of palm oil, is now certified as responsible and sustainable. According to SCS Global Services, a certification and auditing firm, several factors are behind the growth of sustainably sourced palm oil, including increased consumer demand and government regulations.
In 2018 The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to ban the use of palm oil in all European biofuels by 2020, citing environmental concerns.
In addition, more food companies are committing to ending deforestation within their supply chains, which helps drive up demand for RSPO-certified palm oil.
The integrity of sustainable palm oil can only be maintained if RSPO's policies are rigidly enforced and there have been some issues with lack of enforcement in the past but in 2018 the RSPO adopted a newly ratified certification standard aimed to universally strengthen social development, environmental protection, and economic prosperity across the sustainable palm oil value chain.
The new Principles & Criteria (P&C ) 2018 comes into effect immediately, with existing RSPO grower members given a one year transition period to implement the new standards. The RSPO P&C are a set of environmental and social standards which member companies must comply with in order to meet RSPO certification standards. It is reviewed every five years and benchmarked against the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL), a global membership association for credible sustainability standards.
The RSPO has 4 approved supply chain models for its certified sustainable palm oil (1)
Identity preserved - The oil delivered to the end user is traceable to the particular mill and its supply base.
Segregated - The oil delivered to the end user comes only from certified sources. Oils from different certified sources can be mixed.
Mass balance - Certified oil is tracked throughout the supply chain. It can be mixed with non-certified oil but the volumes of each are tracked and the correct proportions are sold as certified and non-certified.
Book and claim - Certificate trading, where an oil mill can gain credits for volumes of certified oil produced and sell these to an end user. This is independent of the physical supply chain
Some people also dismiss sustainable palm oil as simple 'greenwashing' but the fact remains that purchasing sustainable palm oil should be a better option for us all.