Indonesia: Round Table talks begin while palm oil production rises


The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has begun its latest round of talks in Jakarta, Indonesia. Established in 2004 the RSPO was a rapid response to the urgent need for more sustainably produced palm oil in a rapidly growing global market.

RSPO, according to its website, "is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry - oil palm producers, 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."

But since its inception the RSPO has been plagued by controversy. Not only have the sales of certified oil being historically slow (demand is now roughly on a par with supply) news emerges frequently of member organisations being involved in the destruction of incredibly sensitive landscapes. These perceived problems have led certain massive organisations, such as Unilever, to begin to act outside the confines of the RSPO and, to some extent, make their own sustainability rules.

Unilever committed to using only palm oil from sustainable sources and their break away was followed by more than 20 other organisations causing considerable embarrassment for RSPO. It is issues like this, and how they are handled, that will continue to shape the future of the RSPO. And in an annual global marketplace of 50 million tons these are extremely important questions for the delegates in Jakarta to sort out.

palm oil plantation in philippines

Although 90% of the world's palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesis it's also expanding in the Philippines. This photo in Palawan province shows a new oil palm plantation developing at the expense of a buri (Corypha) grove.

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Philippines: Expanding Oil Palm aggression in Palawan Reserve


oil palm plantation in the philippinesThe Ancestral Land Domain Watch Network (ALDAW) have released a new video on their Vimeo channel highlighting the encroachment of Oil Palm plantations into the Palawan Man and Biosphere Reserve.