The new plan defines advanced criteria for palm oil production in order to meet these commitments given ongoing pressure for the industry to do so.
Incorporating these add-on and voluntary criteria within the RSPO certification scheme means that RSPO NEXT certification can provide assurance to stakeholders that compliance has been verified independently by accredited Certification Bodies, alongside compliance with the RSPO P&C.
“By creating RSPO NEXT we respond to a request from some of our members to provide continuous improvements within the RSPO framework for those ready and able to go further on their sustainability commitments,” says Datuk Darrel Webber, CEO of RSPO.
“RSPO NEXT is an important milestone and can become a new industry benchmark for others who are working hard towards our common goal of 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.”
The initiative will be voluntary, and to be eligible, growers must demonstrate that at least 60% of their plantations are already compliant with the core RSPO P&C, and must commit to the implementation of RSPO NEXT policies across all of their plantations.
RSPO states these policies must include:
- No deforestation
- No planting on peatland
- No fire
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
- Respect for smallholders’ and workers’ rights
- The use of Paraquat, a pesticide already banned in the European Union, is forbidden under RSPO NEXT.
- Enhanced transparency and traceability
Palm oil buyers that want to claim their commitment to RSPO NEXT can do so through a system of RSPO NEXT credit purchases; although these credits will only be available to those buyers that are already buying 100% certified sustainable palm oil through other supply chain systems.
The agreement on the definition of RSPO NEXT was taken at the organisation’s Board of Governors meeting in November 2015.
Palm oil is a big issue for the cosmetics market as despite only accounting for a very small percentage of the industry’s use, 70% of personal care products contain palm oil, palm kernel oil, or its derivatives.