Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
This was supposed to be the big year for transforming the palm oil industry and ending its environmental toll.
Palm oil is in nearly every product you use, and it's destroying vast tracts of land. Here's how you can help.
Slaughtering orangutans is a common crime on Borneo, but rarely prosecuted.
A similar disconnect is in India's recent announcement that it wants all electric vehicles by the year 2030 to fight pollution
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an industry-dominated body that aims to drive environmental and social responsibility, is facing a key test of its viability in the next day.
It would be an act against conservation to reject a platform that would address the environmental needs of the global community while improving socio-economic needs for local communities.
So what aspects should multinational corporations focus on to address increasing stakeholder pressures and improve their operational sustainability? One important area is the management of natural resources and environmental impacts, both in the corporations' own operations and also in their "value chains."
We should cheer the journey that these companies are taking on but we should not lose sight of the destination, which is to see sustainably produced palm oil being used in products we buy.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is a globally recognized certification body for palm oil, has suspended a bunch of its members for non-compliance. I was surprised the RSPO acted this fast as the usual complaint is that it acts too slow.
We cannot be lulled into complacency by commitments. A recent report by the BBC found that research by the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology gave the mammals of Borneo a "poor outlook" in terms of survival unless there is a shift in how things are done.
The rapid expansion of palm oil plantations has been identified as a key threat to the survival of orangutans.
Did all the producing members of this volume abide by the rules or is a part of it produced by members like Wilmar Group, which is being targeted by Greenpeace or Bumitama Group which was the subject of a comprehensive study by Rainforest Action Network?
Palm oil is a tiny fraction of the ingredients that Starbucks uses. That makes the options for them really simple. They can choose to pay the premiums for untainted palm oil or they can drop its use totally
I've been tracking this industry for six years and it made sense six years ago to allow half-assed products to be labeled
WWF's statement surprised many long-time palm oil watchers, but the organization deserves enormous credit for sticking to its principles and making clear that companies cannot claim sustainability just by sticking an RSPO label on their product while continuing to destroy the Earth's forests.
Oxfam just released its "Behind the Brands" scorecard and we can be sure that CEOs at each of the 10 ranked companies went straight to the overview to see where they were placed; concern for their actual score would have been secondary and a deeper look at the details behind the scores third.
However, none of this will guarantee that the palm oil in Girl Scout cookies is coming from sustainable palm oil plantations
The Netherlands has committed to only using palm oil certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) by 2015