Revised palm oil standards a positive step forward - but companies now need to perform at the highest level
While the revision of the RSPO Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil Production (P&Cs) did not result in everything WWF had pushed for, WWF nevertheless believes the revised P&Cs are better than the earlier version at addressing the challenges facing the palm oil industry.
WWF participated in the review, advocating for stronger environmental and social safeguards governing greenhouse gas emissions, planting on peatland and the use of hazardous chemicals among other issues.
Despite some disappointments, WWF fully supports the RSPO and will remain an engaged member of the organization, continuing to help the RSPO to improve its standard and systems.
WWF supports efforts by individual grower members to certify their production and of buyers and users to commit to the use of 100% certified sustainable palm oil.
WWF believes that the new P&Cs create a space within which companies can set their own performance standard.
"WWF now expects progressive RSPO members to set themselves the highest standard within the framework of the RSPO rather than the lowest that they can get away with,” said Adam Harrison, who leads WWF’s work on sustainable palm oil and represents WWF on the RSPO Executive Board.
Alongside committing to the certification of all their present and future palm oil production to the RSPO P&Cs, WWF expects progressive growers to also take action on immediate public reporting of GHG emissions as well as significant annual GHG emissions reduction targets.
WWF also expects action from progressive growers with regard to zero-net emissions from land use for new developments, an end to the use of hazardous pesticides including paraquat and only buying Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) from known sources.
WWF also asks other parts of the supply chain to reward those leading innovative growers that make these commitments by both buying their certified sustainable palm oil and taking their own parallel actions.
WWF particularly calls on the traders to acknowledge that they have the greatest responsibility to bring more transparency to the market for certified sustainable palm oil so that buyers can be assured that they are buying CSPO from progressive growers.
The RSPO itself must strictly enforce the P&Cs as well as its existing systems for members to report their progress.
WWF is confident that the combined commitment of progressive RSPO members can ensure the credibility of the system moving forward until the next P&C review in 5 years.