The report considers the progress, if any, made across the RSPO’s three key pillars of sustainability: people, planet and profit. The organisation’s aim, it notes, is to transform the market to make sustainable palm oil the norm.
This year, for example, its annual review has found that the amount of high conservation area set aside has increased, and paraquat has been phased out from a number of its growers’ operations. Meanwhile, 22 of the 63 complaint cases raised since 2009 remain open.
Highlights of the report
In a statement, the RSPO picked out the following as highlights from its report:
High Conservation Area: As of 30 June 2016, the total High Conservation Value area set aside within RSPO Certified concessions amounts to 157,115 ha, an increase of 9% from the last reporting period. That is an area of forest and indigenous communities lands equal to the size of more than 200,000 soccer fields now set aside for conservation.
Paraquat: At least 40 RSPO growers have phased out paraquat, and at least 33 also have a policy banning, or have already phased out, WHO category 1a and 1b pesticides.
Resolution of grievances: Out of the 63 complaint cases since 2009, 41 have now either been closed or are closed for monitoring.
Support to smallholders: Since 2013, the RSPO has been running a Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF) aimed at improving access to RSPO certification, promoting sustainable agricultural practices and increasing production of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). RSPO has certified 109,415 smallholders (individual and schemed) in the last reporting period.
The report has been made available on the association’s website. It can be read in full here.
What is the RSPO?
The cosmetic industry constitutes an important share of the palm oil market, especially of palm oil kernels, with approximately 70% of formulations containing some form of the ingredient. Palm oil is used across consumer goods industries.
Palm oil is a potentially contentious area of supply for the industry, due to the damaging impact that associated deforestation can have on the environment. Increasingly, consumers have come to demand sustainably sourced palm oil to offset this impact, and the industry has been taking steps to meet this demand.
The RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry - oil palm growers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs - to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.