RSPO membership has grown by almost 300 members in the last year and currently stands over 3,400 members, according to the new data, which will come as heartening news for those involved in developing sustainable practices and transparent supply chains around palm oil production.
According to the data, of those companies and organisations required to submit their annual communication on progress on certified sustainable palm oil (ACOP), almost 67% did so.
These were joined by an additional 255 smaller supply chain members, who reported voluntarily, showing the commitment of SMEs to the process. Total members submitting was 1,322 compared to 1,127 in the previous reporting period.
The conference saw also the launch of new partnerships, which the RSPO says will strengthen its work in growing countries.
Firstly, The Roundtable will be engaging with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to promote business practices on children's rights and workers welfare in the palm oil sector.
“It’s important for the industry to acknowledge the social issues it faces, if we want to find sustainable solutions. The partnership with UNICEF represents an opportunity to collaborate, promote best practices across the industry and address some of the existing gaps in our sector.” said Darrel Webber, Chief Executive Officer of RSPO.
As well as this, the RSPO partnered with the World Resource Institute to create “GeoRSPO”. This is an interactive mapping platform featuring concession maps submitted by RSPO grower members that is live on the RSPO website.
Further to these, a new alliance was also formed between a group of some world’s largest palm oil companies, including Wilmar, Sime Darby and Musim Mas, together with the Orangutan Land Trust and a number of wildlife conservation experts and NGOs. The PONGO Alliance is aimed at supporting the management of orang-utans and other wildlife in palm oil landscapes.
RSPO next steps
Positive ACOP data, new partnerships and innovations presented at the conference demonstrate the broad commitment among palm oil stakeholders to continue the market transformation process led by the RSPO, the alliance states.
“The next step will be the completion of the second five-year review of RSPO’s Principles & Criteria (P&C), one of the key issues discussed at the event. Many European members are keen on taking active part in the process, alongside their counterparts from palm oil producing countries.
“Changes to the standard will have to be approved by the RSPO General Assembly in November 2018, upon recommendation by the P&C Review Taskforce.”