Forest Conversion News No. 30 - June 2011Forest Conversion News focuses on the expansion of palm oil and soy.
- Feature: RTRS RT6 conference buoyed by market uptake of first batch of responsible soy
- Interview: Belinda Howell, Representative for Retailers Palm Oil Group, RSPO Executive Board
- Publications & Tools
- Sustainability Commitments & Milestones
- Upcoming Events
- Media Review
RTRS RT6 conference buoyed by market uptake of first batch of responsible soy
The Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) concluded its annual conference with a note of optimism about its progress, buoyed by the announcement earlier in June of the first RTRS certified farms and the renewed commitment expressed by buyers and funders for certified soy.
The meeting, held on June 15-16 in Buenos Aires, drew participants from the global soy industry and focused on sharing lessons learned by RTRS producers, as well as progress and challenges faced by buyers of soy.
The Brazilian soy producer Andre Maggi shared the company’s experience about its efforts to certify 2 of its farms equalling about 70,000 hectares in Matto Grosso (a state in the Amazon), which were the first soy farms to be awarded certification according to RTRS standards.
These milestone certifications were formally celebrated at an event on June 8 in Rotterdam, where it was announced that Dutch buyers represented by the Dutch Sustainable Soy Initiative (IDS) purchased this first batch of soy certified by the RTRS, marking a historic turning point in the Roundtable’s efforts to help stop deforestation by bringing socially and environmentally responsible soy to the marketplace.
The IDS, which committed to buying 85,000 tonnes of certified soy, represents the following group of major Dutch companies: Nevedi (the feed industry association), FrieslandCampina, Vion, Gebr. Van Beek Group, 2 Sisters Storteboom and Ahold.
"This tangible progress by RTRS producers and buyers is the first step in building a mainstream market for responsible soy,” said Cassio Moreira, Coordinator of WWF Brazil’s Agriculture and Environment Programme. “The RT6 meeting provided an opportunity for proud members to reflect on this critical milestone and discuss how to increase the momentum for increased uptake of RTRS soy."
The RT6 also featured presentations by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), which highlighted programmes to provide financial and technical support to the companies on the soy value chain to become RTRS compliant.
Moriera added, “It was gratifying to see that WWF’s sense of urgency is shared by other RTRS members – because multi-member bodies like this roundtable are becoming increasingly important to protect the environment. In Brazil, the proposed revision of the Forest Code currently threatens millions of hectares of tropical biomes. Whatever the outcome of these policy discussions in Brazil, it is clear that we cannot depend on government policies alone, hence the RTRS as a market-driven initiative is more important than ever to help stop deforestation in Latin America."
Belinda Howell, Representative for Retailers Palm Oil Group, RSPO Executive BoardCan you explain your role in the RSPO?
I represent a group of international retailers who are RSPO members (the "Retailers' Palm Oil Group") on the Executive Board of RSPO. They include: Asda, Boots, Coles, Co-operative Group Switzerland, Co-operative Group UK, Delhaize Group, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Royal Ahold, Sainsbury's, Tesco, The Body Shop International and Waitrose.
The Retailers' Palm Oil Group currently holds one of two Retail sector seats on the RSPO Executive Board; the other is held by Carrefour. Thus my dual role is to represent the Retailers' Palm Oil Group on the Executive Board; and to represent RSPO as a member of its Executive Board.
How significant is the RSPO trademark relative to overall efforts to increase the uptake of CSPO?
All retailer members of RSPO are committed to increase uptake of certified sustainable palm oil, as ingredients become available. Most retailers have pledged to use only certified sustainable palm oil ingredients in their own brand products by dates ranging from the end of 2011 to 2015.
The RSPO trademark supports this by enabling brand owners and retailers to identify palm oil ingredients on their product labels and assure consumers that these ingredients are produced sustainably and responsibly.
Retailers do not purchase palm oil ingredients directly. Retailers are working actively on hundreds of product lines and with many suppliers, who are often small and medium sized enterprises, to increase uptake of certified sustainable palm oil in their own brand products. We understand the sentiments amongst palm oil producers that now certified sustainable palm oil is being produced; they expect it to be purchased.
Due to complexities in the supply chain, whilst increasing rapidly throughout 2010 and 2011, only a proportion of certified sustainable palm oil produced is currently physically available at the market end. However, a quantitative analysis demonstrates significant growth in uptake year on year, increasing from 25.3% in 2009 to 46.2% in 2010.
The trademark was launched in May 2011 specifically directed to the trade. At this moment, RSPO’s communications is aimed at creating awareness, education and adoption amongst users of the trademark along the palm oil supply chain. It will take some time before we see the products with the trademark on the shelves, when consumer awareness campaigns can start.
In the meantime, we recognise the need to maintain high standards and strong certification systems to protect the credibility of the RSPO trademark. It is also an opportunity for RSPO and members like WWF, consumer brands and retailers to work together to increase consumer awareness of the assurance the trademark provides.
Do you see the application of the trademark resulting in any changes in the quantity of CSPO that is produced?
The trademark represents RSPO’s commitment towards its member organizations and the capacity of the industry as a whole, not only in encouraging production of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), but also embracing the marketplace on the demand side. In the medium to long term, this should encourage and inspire production of certified sustainable palm oil amongst producers, as it instils increased momentum and confidence over time towards positive uptake in the market.
Is the availability of the trademark likely to spur other retailers to join the RSPO in the UK?
Most of the large food retailers in the UK are already members of the RSPO. International retailers based in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, the United States and South Africa are also members of the RSPO. The number of retailers joining the RSPO is likely to be low due to the structure of the market, which is dominated by fewer, major international retailers.
However they will be highly influential, as we saw with Walmart joining RSPO earlier this year. In the near future, RSPO could expect to see more retailers from Europe and North America joining. In the longer term it will be important to encourage more brand owners and retailers in major palm oil markets such as South-East Asia, India and China making similar commitments to using certified sustainable palm oil by joining the RSPO.
Some stakeholders in the palm oil supply chain, such as the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI), have expressed doubts as to the benefit afforded by the RSPO trademark. What is your view?
The response from growers around the world on the success and impact of the trademark can vary. However, the benefit afforded by the RSPO trademark to producers is that it will help to communicate through the supply chain and to consumers about the sustainability credentials of products and ingredients made using the palm oil they produce.
There are concerns that the proliferation of ecolabels is confusing consumers in choosing responsible products. How can the RSPO trademark overcome this problem?
There is no doubt that the RSPO trademark joins a proliferation of ecolabels for different issues and product types. Consumers expect brand owners and retailers to source their products and ingredients responsibly and sustainably. The RSPO trademark helps to communicate that this is the case where ingredients made using palm oil form an important part of the product. The trademark is voluntary and it is up to retailers and brands to make decisions based on consumer needs and sound business rationale.
Do any of the retailers your represent plan to use the RSPO trademark?
Yes. Many of the retailers plan to use the RSPO trademark on products, when ingredients from certified sustainable palm oil are available and where this is appropriate.
In Australia, new legislation was introduced to require mandatory labelling of palm oil in products. There has been talk of also introducing such legislation to Europe. What is your view on this?
We support the fact that manufacturers and retailers should be encouraged to use certified sustainable palm oil in their products. However, distinguishing palm oil as the only edible oil that requires labelling implies that other edible oils do not face similar challenges.
RSPO takes a strong view against this supposition as issues surrounding environmental destruction, social concerns and wildlife conservation are prevalent across the board with cultivation of any type of monoculture crops. The proposed European Food Information to Consumers regulation—if approved—would apply equally to all animal and vegetable oils. The RSPO trademark offers a solution for businesses in addressing these propositions.
back to table of contents
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a 2-year decree that halts new permits to log or convert primary forests (including degraded lands within) and peatland. Originally the Indonesian government announced that about 64 million hectares of land would be protected according to the moratorium.
However, on July 4, the government issued a new version of a forest map, revising down the size of primary forests and conservation areas in the forest moratorium to 55 million hectares. The moratorium was one of the stipulations of a letter of intent that Indonesia signed with Norway last year, under which Norway pledged Indonesia US$1 billion.
The decree will protect primary forests and peatland, while allowing the conversion of other forests for geothermal projects, sugar and rice plantations and ecosystem “restoration” projects. It also allows for development in virgin forest of some mining and agriculture deemed of vital national interest.
The potential emissions reductions from land use, land-use change and forestry could be far greater under this decree if the moratorium was extended beyond primary forests to include secondary forests as well, said WWF.
The Norwegian government made the billion-dollar pledge in 2010, following Yudhoyono’s commitment to battle deforestation and limit carbon emissions. The funds are earmarked for building up the country’s capacity to measure and monitor its forests, a prerequisite for earning carbon credits towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). The funding is contingent on certain benchmarks, including the implementation of the moratorium.
According to the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Telapak, its Indonesian partner, the Malaysian plantation group Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) was documented burning peat forest in Central Kalimantan province's moratorium zone. The fact that the moratorium was allegedly breached on its first day by a plantation company in Kalimantan underscores the difficulties Indonesia faces in translating the decree into tangible measures to protect the country's forests.
Parliamentary approval of reductions to forest protection in Brazil could result in a bill that, if enacted, would essentially legalize deforestation in vast amounts of land.
The proposed changes to the Forest Code would see cuts in permanent preservation areas that protect forest and other ecosystems in the most sensitive areas, alongside rivers, on steep slopes and elevated watersheds. Other "set asides" (reserva florestal), which offer a basis for sustainable use of forests and avoiding climate change, have also been greatly cut back. According to the amended Forest Code, protection controls would be handed to state governors, while requirements to restore some illegally deforested areas could be dropped.
These events come at a time when, because of strong pressure on land use from increasing commodity prices, the clearing of trees for expanding farms and cattle ranching is on the rise, possibly by up to 30% over last year. This comes on the back of Brazil’s 7 years of almost uninterrupted decreases in deforestation.
During Brazilian President Rousseff's campaign last year, she pledged to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80% and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 39% by 2020.
A new bill that will require palm oil to be labelled in all Australian foods is one step closer to becoming law after it passed the Senate in June. Previously, products containing palm oil only needed to label the ingredient as “vegetable oil”, making it difficult for shoppers to make informed choices. With the new law, Australians will be able to know which products contain palm.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Council says the bill is based on false claims, and that the livelihood of over half a million local workers will be threatened if it goes ahead. A similar reaction was heard from the Indonesian government, which objects to the bill and claims that it is discriminative toward palm oil.
The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has also criticised the bill, saying it would have significant impacts on Australia’s food manufacturers as well as compromise the country’s food labelling system. According to the AFGC, the cost of changing a single label will vary between $10,000 and $19,000 per product. The AFGC is pushing Federal MPs to carry out further consultation with the food industry on the proposed palm oil labelling legislation.
In Europe, a campaign is under way to amend a recent food bill known as the Sommer Report in the European Parliament to require that palm oil is listed on all product labels. The campaign is backed by the Orangutan Foundation, the Sumatran Orangutan Society, the Elephant Family, Save the Rhino, The Jane Goodall Institute—UK, and Ape Alliance.
WWF is supportive of moves to label all vegetable oils in products to ensure that consumers know what they are buying.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has formally released its trademark for use with products that contain certified sustainable palm oil. The trademark, originally unveiled in November 2010 at the 8th RSPO meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, allows RSPO members to show their commitment to sustainable palm oil and other sustainable palm-derived products.
RSPO members will be able to use the trademark in communication on, or about, products that contain palm-derived ingredients sourced in compliance with one or more of three RSPO supply chain systems: ‘Identity Preserved’, ‘Segregated’ and ‘Mass Balance’. Members can use the trademark if all palm-derived ingredients (more than 95%) in the product are covered by RSPO certification, if storage/ shipping/manufacturing sites have been RSPO-supply-chain certified, and if a trademark license has been acquired from the RSPO. Communicating about RSPO-certified products will remain voluntary.
Carrefour is the first international retailer to announce it will use the trademark on product packages that contain palm oil-derived ingredients. The company has singled out the Indonesian market for raising consumer awareness on palm oil. "Carrefour commits to playing our part in this market transformation as a responsible retailer, and also encourages other stakeholders within the palm oil supply chain to come together in raising the level of awareness amongst consumers in Indonesia towards sustainable palm oil sourced in an environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible manner," said Faisal Firdaus, Sustainable Development Manager, PT Carrefour Indonesia.
The Cerrado, a savannah that covers more than one-fifth of Brazil, has experienced ongoing deforestation due to the expansion of soy agriculture, led by demand for soybean to produce feed for poultry, pigs and cattle around the world.
Human activity through agriculture and cattle rearing has devastated around 50% of the Cerrado. There are also fears locally that the rising agriculture industry in the region is polluting water supplies. Cultivation of soy is causing the Cerrado, home to 5% of the world's species, to lose its unique vegetation.
Isabella Vitali, Senior Policy Officer on Livestock and Soya at WWF UK, said: “Through the consumption of livestock raised on soya, UK consumers may be unwittingly contributing to the destruction of some of the world’s most valuable habitats. WWF believes that schemes like RTRS can be an effective way of tackling the problems associated with soya expansion and help to preserve unique habitats for future generations”.
UK members of RTRS already include M&S, Waitrose, Asda and Unilever as well as producers of agricultural inputs, animal feed and biofuels. WWF is asking consumers to back the campaign and to demand that British supermarkets commit to only buying soy certified according to the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS).
A video created by WWF that uses hand shadow puppets to raise awareness about soy expansion in the Cerrado has already been viewed by 100,000 consumers. In September, Brazil launched a £125 million plan to combat deforestation and protect wildlife in the Cerrado. The new Cerrado Plan will see US$200 million of federal money invested over the next 2 years to protect the mixed woodland-savannah.
The race is on to put RTRS guidelines into place before any further development continues. "Three percent of the Cerrado is protected effectively," WWF-Brazil's Cerrado-Pantanal Programme Officer, Michael Becker added. "The environmental ministry of Brazil has agreed to the UN target of 14% [protection] for the Cerrado. If we reach a 14% protected area, that's an achievement."
Sustainable palm oil hits 5 million-tonne milestone
Palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) now accounts for 9% of global supply, with RSPO-certified palm oil producers supplying the 5-millionth tonne of certified sustainable palm oil last June.
The latest million tonnes were added over the course of 3 months (second quarter of 2011), whereas it took 12 months for RSPO members to hit the 1 million-tonne milestone in August 2009. Producers are now hoping to reach the 10 million-tonne mark by the end of 2011.
About 54% of the world's current RSPO-certified palm oil production capacity is in Malaysia. Indonesia is second, with about 35% of the current global supply. Papua New Guinea and Colombia provide the remaining 10% and 1% respectively.
RSPO applauds efforts made by Indonesian members towards sustainable palm oil
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) reaffirmed that as the world’s largest palm oil producer, Indonesia, is in a strong position to be a benchmark for new emerging markets to adopt sustainable practices. Indonesia has recorded phenomenal year-on-year growth of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) production: 200,000 metric tonnes in 2009; 800,000 metric tonnes in 2010; and 1.2 million metric tonnes as of April 2011. This is a 600% increase in CSPO production in Indonesia in just 2 years.
According to Darrel Webber, RSPO Secretary General, “with around 3.7 million of its population involved in the palm oil agricultural sector that contributes 6-7% to the country’s GDP, Indonesia should be geared to inspire and blaze the trail for new frontiers such as Thailand; Central and West Africa (Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Congo); Latin and Central America (Columbia, Honduras, Ecuador, Brazil), in embracing sustainable standards despite the challenges faced.”
Webber went on to say that despite the challenges, significant progress and major commitments have already been made in addressing some of the sustainability issues facing the palm oil sector in Indonesia. He pointed to the fact that many Indonesian member companies have conceived and implemented world class standards and practices towards achieving Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).
RSPO will proactively position Indonesia’s successes in international markets through its outreach efforts in Europe, India and China.
World Bank to resume lending to palm oil sector after 18-month moratorium
After an 18-month moratorium, the World Bank has announced the adoption of a framework to restart lending to the palm oil sector. The framework, triggered by complaints over social conflict between local communities and palm oil companies, was developed after months of consultations with stakeholders, including the private sector, NGOs, farmers, indigenous communities, development experts, and governments.
Under the new policy, both the World Bank and the International Finance Corp (IFC) will prioritize investments that "support smallholders and foster benefit sharing with rural communities." The implementation of the policy is intended to help to strengthen smallholder producer organizations, promoting their access to finance and markets, improving their agronomy practices and productivity, and fostering fair contractual arrangements with larger companies.
The framework also gives priority to initiatives that shift palm oil expansion from forested areas and peat lands to degraded lands. It also aims to support efforts to improve productivity of existing plantations.
Because IFC standards are influential — private sector banks often adopt them for their own lending standards — the moratorium was hotly contested. Meanwhile rights' groups and environmental organisations called for stronger protections. The new World Bank/IFC framework is available at www.ifc.org/palmoilstrategy.
Girl Scouts shift to sustainable palm oil for iconic cookies
Two Girl Scouts in Michigan, Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, got the attention of Girls Scouts of the USA—the scouts' national organization—in their efforts to take palm oil out of the 198 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies sold each year.
The two said they stopped selling the cookies and then tried to get Kellogg's, the parent company of the Girl Scouts' bakers, to switch to an alternative, like canola oil or olive oil. For years they have been holding information sessions at their school, recruiting other scouts to their cause, working with environmental groups and talking to media. Their online petition to get palm oil out of Girl Scout cookies received 67,000 signatures.
Finally, Vorva and Tomtishen met with Girl Scouts executives in New York City, and the group agreed to see if they can source more of the ingredient sustainably, or replace it. The non-profit Girl Scouts' cookie business is worth more than $700 million a year, and much of that money goes to support individual troops. According to organization, there is no affordable source of sustainable palm oil but because of Rhiannon and Madison's dedication, they will investigate changing future batches of cookies.
More recently, the 2 girl scouts partnered with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) in a new campaign that aims to elevate public awareness and apply pressure on Girl Scouts executives to respond to concern about palm oil in its cookies. Girl Scouts across the US can earn a Rainforest Hero Badge in the same way they earn traditional badges—through completing a list of activities that contribute to the protection of tropical forests and the endangered species that depend on them.
In response to the work of Vorva and Tomtishen, Kellogg’s, which owns one of two companies that produce Girl Scout cookies, recently announced they would invest in ‘Green Palm’ Certificates. Kellogg’s sources its palm oil from agribusiness giant Cargill Inc., the primary target of RAN’s 3 year-old palm oil campaign.
At the end of 2014, all feed for Swiss livestock will be produced with certified responsible non-GM soy. Fourteen major market actors in the Swiss meat and feed market followed an initiative initiated by WWF-Switzerland and the Swiss retailer Coop, and committed to source at least 90% certified responsible non-GM soy by 2014. In order to promote and implement the use of responsible soy all over Switzerland, the Swiss farmers associations, the most important retailers and feed importers together with WWF Switzerland founded the Swiss Soy Network.
Switzerland: A whole market commits to use responsible non GM soy
The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), the trade association representing the UK Feed Industry as well as other agri-supply inputs, has released a position statement regarding the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS). The document states that the AIC supports the goals of the RTRS, in which it is represented through the European Feed Federation (FEFAC).
The UK Feed Industry releases position statement on the RTRS
Under the Responsible Procurement rules developed by the AIC, which specifically address deforestation and worker welfare, no soy can be traded if it was grown on land within the Amazon Biome that was deforested after September 1st 2006. AIC is now working with RTRS and supply chain partners, including on how better to protect areas of high biodiversity value, such as the Cerrado region of Brazil. back to table of contents
As a backdrop to the report, WWF advocates Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation (ZNDD) by 2020 as a target that reflects the scale and urgency with which threats to the world’s forests and climate need to be tackled. ZNDD means no net forest loss through deforestation and no net decline in forest quality through degradation.
The Living Forests Report, developed by WWF with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) using the Living Forests Model, explores various global land-use scenarios in an effort to analyze how ZNDD might be achieved, including what tradeoffs might need to be made regarding land-use and lifestyle choices in order to get there. It calculates the effect of forces such as population growth and consumer demand, and describes possible consequences on key areas such as food production, climate change, biodiversity, commodity prices and economic development.
The Living Forests Model Target Scenario suggests Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation (ZNDD) is technically possible by 2020. It shows that changes in consumption patterns, particularly among the most affluent, will be essential to achieving ZNDD without excessive costs to other ecosystems or threats to food security. Such consumption changes are not so dramatic as to be either socially or practically implausible.
Key findings of the reports, prepared by ProForest, show that the UK consumes 1.2% of global palm oil and 10% of palm kernel meal. 68% of palm oil is used in the food sector, especially in the biscuit industry, but overall palm oil imports have decreased by 40% of last five years.
The reports provide an analysis of different policy options that could be used to encourage the use of sustainable palm oil in the UK. The ‘policy’ report provides a summary of the mapping of the UK palm oil supply chain and analyses different policy options alongside stakeholder opinion.
The 'mapping' report gives much more details on the UK palm oil supply chain in terms of its structure, the estimated number of businesses operating at each stage, estimated volumes of palm oil (including future trends) and its derivatives traded at each stage, company commitments to sourcing sustainable palm oil and the implications for the sustainability of palm oil supplied to the UK.
The findings could have important implications for forest management in the face of the ever-growing demand for oil palm plantations. While more species existed in larger forest patches, even small fragments contributed to overall diversity. Therefore, conservation managers should aim to protect existing small fragments, while seeking to join up small forest areas to maximise diversity.
Golden Agri-Resources Sustainability ReportGolden Agri-Resources Ltd (GAR) first sustainability report outlines the company’s progress in stakeholder engagement, environment sustainability, social affairs, supplier relations, consumer and customer relations, and labour relations. The report, which among other maps out the structure of the company and the full value of the chain of the business, is measured against the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
New version of the RTRS Chain of Custody StandardThe Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) has launched a new version of its RTRS Chain of Custody Standard. In this new version (2.1.), the Standard introduces Module E, which is aligned with EU RED requirements for mass balance EU RED certifications.
VIDEO: Save the CerradoAs much as 21% of Brazil is covered by the little-known but precious Cerrado savannah. But right now the Cerrado is disappearing faster than the Amazon rainforest. This inventive short animation produced by WWF is an appeal to consumers to ask their supermarkets to sell soy that does not cause deforestation.
back to table of contents
Cargill adopts 'greener' palm oil policyMongabay.com, 12 July 2011
Cargill will ensure all palm oil supplied to customers in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or originated from smallholder growers by 2015, according to a statement issued by the company. Cargill says it will extend the commitment to 100% of its products and customers globally – including China and India, the largest consumers of palm oil – by 2020.
Cargill to pay premium for sustainable palm oil
Procurement Leaders, 29 June 2011
Food supplier Cargill has vowed to pay its agricultural suppliers a premium for sustainable palm oil. The company announced that farmers at plantation PT Hindoli (Sumatra, Indonesia), have received their first premiums for the certified palm oil they produced. The smallholders have received more than IDR 870 million (approximately US$100,000) in combined premiums.
KLK plans to complete RSPO certification in Malaysia by 2013
The Star, 22 June 2011
Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) will pursue the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification on its remaining plantations and mills in Johor and Belitung Island, Indonesia despite allegations by an environmentalist group that it had breached a two-year Indonesia’s forest clearing ban. KLK is targeting to complete the RSPO certification for its operations in Malaysia by 2013 and in Indonesia by 2014.
Waitrose commits to source 100% of soy from RTRS certified sources
Datamonitor, 26 May 2011
Waitrose, a UK-based supermarket chain, has announced that it is committed to source 100% of the soy in its own label products from sources certified by Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS), by December 2015. This commitment follows ongoing work by WWF-UK to highlight the devastating impact of soy cultivation on the Cerrado savannah in Brazil.
SC Johnson to buy only sustainable palm oil
PR Newswire, 24 May 2011
SC Johnson has announced that by 2015, it will only purchase palm oil-based ingredients that originate from responsible and sustainable sources. Working with its suppliers as well as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), of which SC Johnson is a member, the company intends to ensure that all of the palm oil-based ingredients it purchases come from certified, sustainable sources.
NBPOL and Wilmar collaborate to bring segregated certified palm oil to Europe
Biofuels Platform, 14 May 2011
Papua New Guinea-headquartered New Britain Palm Oil (NBPOL), a large-scale integrated industrial producer of sustainable palm oil in Australasia, and agribusiness group Wilmar International have agreed to set up an integrated supply chain and joint marketing agreement to supply Europe with fully traceable and segregated sustainable palm oil from NBPOL's Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified plantations in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
KFC asks suppliers to switch or use only sustainable palm oil
The Independent, 7 April 2011
KFC says it is removing palm oil from its deep fat friers to gain a "double benefit" by reducing climate change and heart disease. Starting in April, KFC will be using high oleic rapeseed oil at its 800 outlets in UK and Ireland, at an estimated cost of £1m a year. KFC said it had begun talks with suppliers to get them to switch to alternatives or source only sustainably-certified palm oil.
Avon takes up sustainable palm oil cause
Smartplanet, April 15, 2011
Starting in July 2011, Avon will begin purchasing “book and claim” sustainable palm oil certificates. The company, which has also joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), is rolling out a campaign called Hello Green Tomorrow’s, with a primary focus on deforestation and, in particular, the Atlantic rainforest in South America. Since last year, the company has raised $2.1 million for that cause and so far it has helped restore about 5,000 acres in collaboration with WWF and The Nature Conservancy.
Burton's achieves 100% segregated palm oil target
Worldbakers, 13 April 2011
Burton's Foods has achieved its target to source 100% segregated palm oil 2 years ahead of schedule. The company will continue to purchase all its palm kernel oil and palm oil derivatives via GreenPalm until a segregated supply source is available.
The article chronicles the environmental challenges posed by China’s demand for natural resources from Latin America, including soy. China is now Latin America’s third leading partner after the United States and the European Union. Many economists expect the country to overtake the European Union for the No. 2 spot by the middle of this decade.
Jeroen Douglas, South America regional director for Solidaridad (a Netherlands-based nonprofit that promotes fair and sustainable supply chains worldwide), is interviewed on issues relating to responsible soy.
RTRS Certification logo presented in Buenos Aires at RT6RTRS, 16 June 2011
Certified companies that buy Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)-certified soy will be allowed to use the new logo RTRS logo on their products. The logo was unveiled during the 6th International Conference on Responsible Soy (RT6) in Buenos Aires, on 15-16 June 2011. Details on the usage rules can be downloaded here.
Foodnavigator, 21 June 2011
Certified sustainable palm oil derivatives ‘prohibitively expensive’ in US
Representatives from AAK, Loders Croklaan and Cargill said CSPO derivatives such as palm stearin, fractions of stearin and palm kernel oil fractions, were still “prohibitively expensive” in the US, even though all three firms can now offer straight (refined) certified sustainable palm oil.
Malaysia expected to maintain position as world’s largest producer of Certified Sustainable Palm OilThe Star, 17 June 2011
Malaysia is expected to maintain its position as the world's largest producer of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) given continued support from the country's oil palm companies and the Government, said Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Secretary General Darrel Webber. Currently, Malaysia contributes over 50% of CSPO in the world, followed by Indonesia at 35% and the remaining from Papua New Guinea, West Africa and South America.
In Brazil, palm oil plantations could help preserve AmazonYale Environment360, 14 June 2011
As Brazilian and international firms gear up for a major expansion of palm oil cultivation in the Amazon, can sustainable cultivation of the crop actually help save the rainforest, rather than hastening its destruction? In this opinion editorial, Rhett Butler argues that done right, oil palm could emerge as a key component in the effort to save the Amazon rainforest.
ADNKronos, 27 May 2011
Indonesia: Amnesty criticises police on violence against farmers
International human rights group Amnesty International has released a report on the use of force against farmers in Jambi province, central Sumatra. The report documents an incident in which police officers opened fire on a group of local farmers at a palm oil plantation on 15 January. The incident occurred amid a land dispute between the farmers and palm oil company PT Kresna Duta Agroindo that has been ongoing since 2006.
IOI corporation working with RSPO to achieve roadmapBloomberg, 26 May 2011
IOI Corp., Malaysia’s second-biggest listed palm oil producer, said it has been working “closely” with an industry group on a roadmap to address issues related to allegations of illegal deforestation and disputes over land. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil group (RSPO) suspended IOI’s certification process after several companies and organizations, namely Migros, Friends of the Earth and Grassroots, as well as the local community of Long Teran Kanan in Sarawak made allegations against the company.
Government torn between courting business, protecting forestsThe Jakarta Post, 24 May 2011
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently added the phrase “pro-business” to his strategy for achieving sustainable development, in a departure from an earlier focus on the slogan “pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-poor and pro-environment.” This change seems to express the government’s attempt to strike a balance between conserving forests and boosting the economy.
The Jakarta Post, 21 May 2011
NGOs fund plantation for small growers
To expand sustainable oil palm plantations, NGOs are sponsoring small-scale farmers to preserve the environment while growing palms in Indonesia. The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil Secretary General Darrel Webber said that the RSPO has worked with Solidaridad, a social development organization, to finalize the funding scheme that values euro 200,000 annually for three consecutive years.
The Guardian, 20 May 2011
Malaysia and Indonesia bolster defence of palm oil industry
Malaysia and Indonesia, which together account for about 90% of the world's palm oil production, have launched a joint public relations effort to defend the industry's environmental record. Ministers from the 2 countries agreed to finalise plans for a European Palm Oil Council (EPOC) by the end of 2011, to defend the trade of palm oil to the European Union and counter the "anti-palm oil campaign."
The Jakarta Post, 16 May 2011
Will Indonesia lose the next palm oil?
Better stewardship of forest resources — through community management and land rehabilitation — will help Indonesia capitalize on new markets for ecosystem services, of which carbon is just the first, according to Rhett Butler. He goes on to argue that Indonesian business should be leading the transition: Companies that demonstrate environmental stewardship and good community relations — not the lowest cost producers of bulk commodities — are poised to become global leaders.
PRWeb, 29 March 2011
Face up to the urgent palm oil issue, GreenPalm urges cosmetics brands
GreenPalm is urging cosmetics and personal care manufacturers to respond urgently to the palm oil issue instead of waiting for sustainable ingredients to become mandatory in a few years’ time. Palm oil, palm kernel oil and their derivatives are present in about 70% of cosmetic and personal care products.
Business Times, 10 May 2011
Get certified, Indonesia tells Malaysian planters
Malaysian oil palm planters in Indonesia will need to be separately certified for the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO), regardless of whether they have already been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). ISPO certification means compliance to all existing laws of the Ministry of Agriculture, State Ministry for the Environment, the Ministry of Forestry and the National Land Agency.
Mongabay.com, 5 May 2011
Seven conglomerates control 9M ha of land in Indonesia
Analyzing data from the Ministry of Forest's Production Forest Utilization Quarterly Report, Jakarta-based Greenomics Indonesia has found that 7 conglomerates in Indonesia control more than 9 million hectares of land. Two companies — Sinar Mas and Raja Garuda Mas — account for nearly 40% of the landbank. Sinar Mas controls Asia Pulp & Paper and Golden Agri Resources, Indonesia's largest palm oil company, among others. Raja Garuda Mas controls APRIL, a pulp and paper firm, and Asian Agri, a palm oil company.
Antara, 30 April 2011
Indonesia launches oil palm campaign in Europe
The Indonesian government has launched a campaign in Spain and France through the agriculture ministry, with the goal to anticipate negative issues about palm oil relating to the environment. The campaign was designed to share the policy and efforts by the national oil palm industry regarding sustainability.
Eco-business.com, 29 April 2011
Business now pushing governments on sustainability
Agribusinesses, energy providers and clean-tech companies are among the industry players pushing today’s sustainability agenda, according to panellists speaking at the Business for the Environment Summit (B4E) in Jakarta. Indonesia’s palm oil industry is now collaborating with the government on setting clear policies and regulations that they say will level the playing field and improve forest management.
Ecobusiness.com, 29 April 2011
Business, political leaders back Indonesia's sustainability commitments
Business leaders attending the Business 4 Environment Summit (B4E) in Indonesia agreed to 6 pledges that will help move Indonesia toward its sustainable development goals, which include reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020.
Antara News, 27 April 2011
Government committted to keeping Papua's forests intact
Indonesia Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said his ministry remains committed to keeping Papua’s primary forest regions intact and not letting them be exploited by forest concession holders. He said there had been requests for opening the forest regions in Papua for non-forestry activities but the government was resolved to keep intact the 7.3 million hectares of primary forests in the province.
The Jakarta Post, 19 April 2011
Green palm oil and Indonesia
According to this opinion editorial by the head of sustainability at Agro Harapan Holdings, as the Netherlands is one of the largest importers of palm oil in Europe (around 30% of Indonesian palm oil exports), its commitment to sourcing only sustainable palm oil by 2015 is very likely to negatively impact palm oil exports from Indonesia, unless Indonesia reviews its policy on palm oil sustainability.
Scoop.co.nz, 15 April 2011
Greenpeace protests Finnish company's palm oil purchases
Activists from Greenpeace protested in Helsinki against Neste Oil, and deforestation and social problems caused by the growing demand for palm oil in biofuel production. Substantial investments in biodiesel production have made the company one of the largest single users of palm oil globally.
Task Force for Sustainable Palm Oil presents action planMVO, April 2011
At the MVO Dutch Initiative on Sustainable Trade (IDH) seminar on sustainable sourcing, the Dutch Task Force for Sustainable Palm Oil presented its Plan of Action which contains an overview of company commitments and planned activities by the industry associations that are involved. In the plan, the Dutch Margarine Industry Association has indicated that it will start supporting the production of sustainable palm oil in 2011. The Task Force on Sustainable Palm Oil was established to ensure that in 2015 all palm oil used in the Dutch market is sustainable.
Indigenous community takes court ruling into own hands and seizes oil palm plantationMongabay.com, 31 March 2011
A community in Malaysian Borneo seized an oil palm plantation belonging to the IOI Group after they claimed that the palm oil giant failed to respect the terms of a court ruling that the plantation was established on native customary land. According to the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the action came after months of inaction by IOI, following the March 2010 court decision that 2 concessions held by the palm oil company were planted on community lands.
The Star, 28 March 2011
A shot in the arm for CSPO
The revamp of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) secretariat, under the stewardship of new Secretary General Darrel Webber, is poised to better position the certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) initiative to gain more credence and expanded market penetration worldwide. Webber said the next focus of RSPO would be to expand CSPO to major global edible oil markets like China and India, while continuing to strengthen its importance in Europe.
Sumatran tiger found dead in Indonesia palm oil plantationThe Star, 23 March 2011
An official says a rare Sumatran tiger has been found dead in a palm oil plantation in Sumatra, western Indonesia. According to a local forestry police officer, the tiger apparently had been electrocuted in a plantation near Berbak National Park in Jambi Province. According to WWF, the tiger population in Sumatra has dwindled to about 400 individuals from about 1,000 in the 1970s.
back to table of contents
China International Oil and Oilseed Summit
14-15 July 2011
Sponsored by the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal Byproducts (CFNA), this conference is organized as a one-hour seminar on sustainable palm oil and the RSPO’s relevance in China. China is currently the world’s largest importer of palm oil, accounting for one third of all global trade.
Find out more
3rd Meeting of the Network on Promotion of Sustainable Palm Oil in China
15 July 2011
The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuff, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA) and WWF-China launched the Network for Promoting Sustainable Palm Oil in China during the China International Oils and Oilseeds Industry Summit in Beijing in July 2009. The third meeting of the Network will take place on July 15 during the 2011 China International Oil and Oilseed Summit in Xi An (see above).
Find out more
Course: 10th Proforest Summer Training Programme
18-22 July 2011
Oxford, United Kingdom
This training is an opportunity for anyone involved in the sustainable management or certification of forests or agricultural commodities; responsible purchasing or investing; investment; or with an interest in practical approaches to conservation and climate change.
In the past 10 years more than 400 participants from over 50 different countries have participated in Proforest’s annual summer training programme in Oxford. Participants have a wide range of backgrounds, from companies to governments and NGOs, and come from all parts of the supply chain, from resource managers through to processors and retailers, offering a stimulating learning environment.
Find out more
Course: Lead Auditors for the RTRS Production Standard
25, 26 & 27 July 2011
The Lead Auditor course for the RTRS Standard for Responsible Soy Production is aimed at auditors, certification and accreditation bodies, consultants, professionals with knowledge of auditing processes, certification standards and their assessment, and people who want to know about the RTRS Production Standard. This is an obligatory requirement for those auditors wishing to get certified against the RTRS Production Standard.
Find out more
Oils, Fats and Lipids for a Healthy and Sustainable World
18-21 September 2011
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The two main themes of the congress are Health and Sustainability. Alongside the regular ‘health’ session, there will be a symposium specifically designed to discuss the subject of saturated fatty acids in nutrition. Moreover, sustainability will be mentioned explicitly for the first time in the programme.
Find out more
9th Annual Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT9)
22-24 November 2011
This year’s event is themed “Transforming the Market. Together.” Details on speakers will be posted soon on the RT9 website.
Find out more
back to table of contents