Forest Conversion News No. 31 - Sep 2011 | WWF

Forest Conversion News No. 31 - Sep 2011

Posted on 12 July 2011    
Focusing on the responsible production of palm oil and soy.



Dutch buyers call for reduction of CSPO import duty in Europe

The Dutch Product Board for Margarine, Fats and Oils (MVO) has called upon the European Union (EU) to abolish the 3.8% duty on crude palm oil that has been certified according to Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards that is imported into Europe. The group says lifting the duty would help offset the additional costs of producing Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).

The MVO, which has already committed to sourcing 100% of its palm oil demand from RSPO-certified suppliers by 2015, states that abolishing the EU import duty on sustainable palm oil would offset the additional costs to produce CSPO—between $7 and $10 per tonne—but also remove a significant barrier to its market uptake in Europe.

The RSPO has supported MVO’s call. According to Darrel Webber, RSPO Secretary General, "The Dutch industry initiative once again places the Netherlands, the largest palm oil importer and processor in Europe, at the forefront of spearheading market transformation towards sustainable palm oil. The RSPO commends and supports the MVO's resolution aimed at stimulating demand for sustainable palm oil.”

Mr Webber’s comments echo some concern piblicly expressed by a diverse group of RSPO members including WWF, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, and GreenPalm, regarding the slow uptake of CSPO. According to GreenPalm, food and drink makers in the European Union need to incentivise suppliers to continue producing RSPO-approved sustainable palm oil options, else efforts to boost a segregated supply chain face the risk of being undermined.

However, a 70% surge in CSPO uptake was reported by the RSPO for September 2011, raising hopes that the market may be beginning to shift. This surge is significantly higher than the 48% increase in CSPO uotake recorded in September 2010. (See news item below)

These developments are happening as WWF prepares its second installment of the WWF Palm Oil Buyers' Scorecard, which tracks the progress of major brands on their commitments and actions on buying and using sustainable palm.

According to Adam Harrison of WWF, "the timing is right for WWF to make a new assessment of buyer progress. There have been many encouraging commitments from major retailers and brands since 2009 [when the first assessment was made], so this is an opportunity to see what’s really been accomplished. The scorecard will recognize leading companies and also highlight where more progress is needed."



Jaap Oskam
President, Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)
Chief Procurement Officer, Nutreco

Can you please describe your personal and professional background?

I grew up as son of a veterinarian in a small village (Meerkerk, Netherlands) between dairy farms. I have always been interested in animals and agriculture. Currently I am also raising a small sheep herd and growing my own vegetables. As a consequence, sustainable development of agri-commodities is a challenge which is close to my personal belief and opinion.

What are the major challenges facing the RTRS at this stage and what do you see as current priorities for the organization?

For our round table, I see the move of producers and consumer markets towards certified sustainable soy in a balanced way as a major challenge. We need to put extra efforts all together to have enough sustainable soy available and make sure that the consumer markets are committed to purchase these products. Furthermore we need to develop an international market for sustainable soy which is not limited to a few west European countries. Personally I am confident that in the coming years more countries will be on the move towards sustainable soy, alongside the Netherlands and Belgium.

The Netherlands has committed to importing 100% certified soy by 2015. How realistic is this goal?
In early 2011 the Dutch Animal Feed Association (Nevedi) established a steering committee to develop a transition plan in order to make sure that in 2015 only RTRS-certified soy is used in the Dutch Feed Industries. In the last months I have recognized that within Nevedi, major steps have been taken to be able to comply with this commitment. Already, in 2012 approximately 30% of our demand for soy products will be produced sustainably. The following year will see a further increase towards approximately 60% of our total soy demand. Given the current commitments, and also from the Dutch Taskforce for Sustainable Soy I, feel confident that together we will be able to succeed in reaching this goal in 2015.

In your experience as Chief Procurement Officer at Nutreco, what are the difficulties faced by the private sector in increasing the sourcing of responsible soy? How is Nutreco dealing with these?

Our procurement department has been very committed to set up a sustainable vendor policy together with our major suppliers. Many of these suppliers have also good ambitions but concrete short term goals have to be agreed in order to really make progress with our sustainable ambitions. Unfortunately, several suppliers are not yet prepared to supply a reasonable proportion of our raw material needs sustainably, and substantial supply adaptations have to be implemented.

What role does the feed industry in Europe and the rest of the world play in increasing the uptake of RTRS certified soy? What role are you intending to play in that respect?

We have to be realistic in our expectations. Especially in Europe, the European Feed Association (FEFAC) is committed towards RTRS-certified soy to be used in the feed industries. However, every country has its own dynamics and challenges. Full commitment of all food chains members are needed to be able to move to sustainable raw materials. When this commitment is realized (such as in The Netherlands), the feed industry is able and feels responsible to organize the supply of sustainable soy for their individual feed companies. Much more work has to be done together, also with WWF, to get consumers to understand the urgent need for the sustainable development of agri-commodities.



Soy Moratorium to be renewed for another year

The Soy Moratorium, signed on July 24, 2006, will be renewed for another year, until January 31, 2013. The announcement was made by the GTS (Soy Working Group), which consists of ABIOVE (Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries) and ANEC (Brazilian Association of Grain Exporters) member companies, the Ministry of the Environment, the Bank of Brazil and civil society organizations (Conservation International, Greenpeace, the Amazon Environmental Research Institure (IPAM), The Nature Conservancy and WWF-Brasil).

ABIOVE and ANEC signed a commitment in 2006 to implement a governance program with the objective of not trading or financing soybeans from crops grown in deforested areas of the Amazon Biome.  The original commitment was for 2 years but, due to encouraging results, the moratorium is now in its 5th consecutive year of implementation.

The 2010/2011 crop monitoring identified the presence of soy on 11,698 hectares that were deforested after July 2006. This corresponds to 0.39% of the total area cleared in the states of Mato Grosso, Pará and Rondônia since that date.

The GTS also announced the launch of an incentive program for Rural Environmental Registration (CAR) in the Amazon Biome. The incentive program will orient rural producers, making them aware of the need and advantages of adapting to current legislation.

Although a good number of the properties with agricultural production are already registered, some obstacles still make it difficult for the producer to obtain a rural environmental registration. Examples include the lack of definition of the new Forest Code and the lack of infrastructure in the state secretariats of the environment, making the process very slow. For these reasons, this initiative by the soybean traders is even more relevant.

The soy productive chain intends to advance the initiative’s objectives. In addition to monitoring deforestation, and purchasing and financing restrictions, the member companies of ABIOVE and ANEC plan to work together with civil society, and the federal and state governments, to improve the region’s governance, including that of public lands.

The commitments made under the Soy Moratorium were complied with and recognized by civil society and the European customers of Brazilian soybeans: Ahold, ASDA, Carrefour, Co-operative, Kraft, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Nutreco, Ritter-Sport, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Wal-Mart.

1 million hectare world record for certified sustainable palm oil

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) reached a major milestone last August in its efforts to halt deforestation and to bring sustainable palm oil to the market, with the millionth hectare of plantations certified—an area roughly equivalent to about 1.5 million football pitches and more than 6,000 times the size of Greater London.

The achievement was made possible with the certification of the mills and supply base of Agropalma, a leader in South America's palm oil industry, the first time that oil plantations are certified in Brazil. The Agropalma certification brings the volume of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil close to 5 million tonnes, or 10% of the world’s total palm oil production.

According to Adam Harrison, Senior Policy Officer for WWF, "passing the 1 million hectares mark is a crucial milestone for the growers. But sadly, half of all sustainable palm oil they produce is still not being bought by palm oil users, meaning there’s a lot of work to be done by retailers and manufacturers to match the efforts of those growers."

RSPO membership has increased by 30% since early 2011, with over 650 member organizations from 50 countries represented by a broad spectrum of industries from consumer goods manufacturers, cosmetics; processors & traders; financial sector; retailers; and non-governmental organizations. 

GAPKI withdraws from RSPO 

The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) has officially withdrawn its membership from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO Secretariat is now working closely with Indonesian producer members to establish an interim representative for Indonesian Growers on the RSPO Executive Board until a new representative is formally chosen at the RSPO General Assembly in November 2011 (RT9).

GAPKI chairman Fadhil Hasan said that as a national entity, his association wants to commit to the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) scheme, a sustainability platform set up by the government and mandatory for all Indonesian firms. 

Currently there are 46 Indonesian palm oil producer companies that hold individual memberships in the RSPO. GAPKI has stated that its members which are RSPO members may remain in the RSPO. 

Dutch industry pushes for responsible soy 

The Dutch Task Force Sustainable Soy the Initiative for Sustainable Soy (IDS) and the Initiative for Sustainable Trade (IDH) are calling producers to support them in their efforts to import exclusively responsible soy into the Netherlands by 2015. In an open letter, they outline a phased approach to achieving this goal, encouraging producers to get certified by the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS).

To accelerate this process, IDH has established the Soy Fast Track Fund (SFTF) which provides financial compensation for projects which lead to proven sustainability of the soy production supply chain.

In mid-2011, the first certificates for 85,000 tons of RTRS certified soy were purchased by IDS, in the Netherlands.

Girl Scouts finally pledge to use certified palm oil in cookies 

Beginning with the 2012-13 cookie season, each Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) cookie box will support the production of sustainable palm oil, in response to a campaign waged by two girl scouts to ensure that the cookies do not contribute to deforestation.

GSUSA will purchase certificates to support the sustainable production of palm oil. The certificates offer a premium price to palm oil producers who are operating according to the guidelines for social and environmental responsibility set by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, girl scouts from Michigan, embarked on a campaign to phase out palm oil from the cookies after they found out that palm oil production can lead to deforestation and destroy orangutan habitat.

GSUSA has committed to working with licensed bakers and has plans to join other industry leaders in making a pledge towards a segregated, certified sustainable palm oil source by 2015, based on market availability. As part of these plans, GSUSA will become an affiliate member of the RSPO.

GSUSA estimates that of all the palm oil used globally, Girl Scout cookies account for less than one-one-hundredth of one percent (.001%)."Girl Scouts' palm oil use is very small, but our voice is big," says Amanda Hamaker, GSUSA's Manager of Product Sales. 

US palm oil plantation in Cameroon raises concerns 

US-based agricultural company Herakles Farms is planning to develop some 60,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in Cameroon's south-west region. However, the fact that the plantation lies in the middle of one of Africa's most biodiverse and threatened landscapes is prompting major concerns.

Herakles is trying to secure a 99-year lease from the Cameroonian government for an area that is adjacent to several important protected areas, including Korup National Park and Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, and is set to clear existing forests and small farms for oil palms.

The company has released its Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for its Cameroon palm oil company, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), and claims that the project will help buffer key protected areas, while creating jobs and opportunities in a part of the world that needs both. Moreover, the company claims it will abide by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) guidelines and International Finance Corporation (IFC) principles and criteria, meaning not cutting down primary forest or High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), among others.

International environmental groups and local communities have several concerns about the plans, including the inadequacy of the impact assessment and the likely impacts of the development on biodiversity and local communities, such as the influx of labour and an increase in bushmeat hunting.

NGOs including WWF would like to see palm oil development in Cameroon that will have a positive effect on the economy, on the local population and on the environment, and consider that only developments following strict guidelines on best practice, notably on HCVF, would achieve this.

The World Resources Institute contends that there are billion-plus hectares of land that are "in some sense degraded, open for improved use [and] improved productivity,” which could be used by Herakles Farms instead of the sensitive area identified.

RTRS President invites members to buy RTRS credits 

The Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) Certificate Trading Platform (CTP) has recently been inaugurated, in order to facilitate the selling and buying of RTRS credits.

By buying RTRS credits, companies can directly support certified producers. The advantages of this mechanism are:
  1. Guarantee that the producer receives an economic benefit,
  2. Avoided high logistical costs as long as volumes are low,
  3. Opportunities for producers from countries such as India, Bolivia and others that don´t have a direct link with markets that require sustainability certification to receive support for taking responsibility, and
  4. Opportunities for companies that use soy in a range of products to support responsible soy production in a practical way.
So far, over 160,000 credits have been purchased by companies such as Läntmannen (Sweden), Unilever (Brazil), IDS (Sustainable Soy Initiative, The Netherlands), and Vandermoortele (Belgium). At the producer end of the market, Grupo Maggi, SLC Agricola and several APDC producers (Brazil); Viluco SA, Los Grobo, Aceitera General Deheza, and Adecoagro (Argentina); and Cytasa (Paraguay) are the first companies that have certified part of their 2010/2011 soy harvest with the RTRS.

Just a few weeks after having obtained RTRS certification, producer Viluco sold the first 6,000 credits, equivalent to 6,000 tons of certified soy, through the RTRS Certificate Trading Platform. Viluco is an Argentine agricultural company with 55,000 ha of land that has adopted no-till practice on all of its farms. In total, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay have certified 400,000 tonnes of soy so far in 2011. 

Major headway for the United States in the RSPO 

The US has made significant headway in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), with 3 global companies based in the US—Walmart, The Hershey Company and financial services leader Citigroup—recently joining the roundtable’s 650 member organizations from 50 countries around the globe.

Currently, the US is the 7th largest membership base in the RSPO, represented by a broad spectrum of industries from consumer goods manufacturers, cosmetics; processors & traders; financial sector; retailers; and non- governmental organizations. The RSPO has seen its membership increase by close to 30% in 2011. 
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WWF Living Forests Report – Bioenergy Chapter

The second chapter of the WWF Living Forests Report shows that is still possible to achieve WWF’s goal of Zero Net Deforestation by 2020 while increasing bioenergy production, assuming ambitious climate change mitigation goals are the driving force behind bioenergy expansion. Projections show major expansion of fast growing plantations, expansion of forest management but relatively modest contributions to deforestation.

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 Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation (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.

» download 

Mapping & Understanding the UK Palm Oil Supply Chain and Analysis of Policy Options

This Oxfam report investigates a new wave of land deals which they claim are hitting the poorest people the hardest as competition for land intensifies. Oxfam’s research has revealed that residents regularly lose out to local elites and domestic or foreign investors because they lack the power to claim their rights effectively and to defend and advance their interests. The NGO recommends that companies and governments must take urgent steps to improve land rights outcomes for people living in poverty. Power relations between investors and local communities must also change if investment is to contribute to, rather than undermine, the food security and livelihoods of local communities.

» download 

Why Do Farmers Prefer Oil Palm? Lessons Learnt from Bungo District, Indonesia

This paper by Laurène Feintrenie, Wan Kian Chong, and Patrice Levang discusses the livelihood impacts of oil palm development in Indonesia, based on lessons learnt from Bungo district, in the province of Jambi (Sumatra). The authors consider the various community company partnerships that structure the palm oil sector and review the difficulties raised by the joint ventures schemes, analysing the merits and drawbacks of oil palm as a smallholder crop.

It is concluded that the main causes of conflict between oil palm companies and communities are unclear land tenure, and a recurrent lack of leadership in smallholders’ cooperatives. The land-use profitability analysis demonstrates the high returns that can be generated by oil palm independent smallholdings, making it highly competitive with rubber, and much more profitable than rice production.

» download  

In Search Of Responsible Soy: Key characteristics and comparison of voluntary soy standards

The purpose of this publication, commissioned by the Dutch Soy Coalition, is to enable those involved in the soy ‘discussion’ to get a better understanding of the content, goals, scope, potential value and other relevant aspects of the various voluntary soy standards in the market.

The assessed standards include Basel Criteria, ProTerra, Round table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), Soy Moratorium (not a standard, but a commitment), Aapresid, Organic (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements: IFOAM), Fairtrade, EcoSocial, Sustainable Agriculture Network: SAN/Rainforest Alliance, GlobalGAP, Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) and International Sustainability and Carbon Certification. The analysis shows that it is very difficult for stakeholders to get a clear picture of the differences between the standards, not only because differences may only appear when comparing the criteria in full detail, but also because many standards are not completely transparent in the information which is publicly available.

» download

Cattle, Soyanization, and Climate Change: Brazil’s Agricultural Revolution

In this report, BrighterGreen explores whether Brazil can protect its forests, grasslands, and immense biodiversity while at the same time meeting climate change goals, even as it produces, consumes, and exports more meat products, milk, eggs, and soybeans. The report also asks how Brazil will address the economic and social inequality caused by the industrialization of its agricultural sector, specifically for mass production of meat and soybeans for animal feed.

» download

Land tenure and international investments in agriculture and international investments in agriculture

In a rainforest landscape undergoing conversion to oil palm, authors Matthew J. Struebig et al show that depauperate species richness in fragments is mirrored by parallel declines in population genetic diversity in the species taxon predicted to be most susceptible to fragmentation. Conserving genetic diversity at levels of pristine forest could require sites 15-fold larger than those needed to safeguard species numbers. Each fragment contributes to regional species richness, with larger ones tending to contain more species.

» download

RSPO special issue from Green Purchasing Asia

The September cover of Green Purchasing Asia focuses on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil's (RSPO) attempts to engage diverse stakeholder groups.

» download

Solutions for a cultivated planet

A team of researchers from the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Germany concludes in a Nature article that it is possible to feed the 9-billion-plus people anticipated to live on this planet in 2050 without destroying Earth’s life support systems.

The authors argue that the solution lies in pursuing sustainable food production on five key fronts: halting farmland expansion in the tropics, closing yield gaps on underperforming lands, using agricultural inputs more strategically, shifting diets and reducing food waste. Combining new data gathered from satellite imagery and crop records around the world with new computer models of global agricultural systems and their environmental impacts, the team developed a plan for doubling the world’s food production while reducing environmental impacts of agriculture.

Based on data gathered about crop production and environmental impacts, the researchers propose a five-point plan for feeding the world while protecting the planet:
  • Halt farmland expansion
  • Close yield gaps
  • Use inputs more strategically
  • Shift diets
  • Reduce waste
» download

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SMART subsidiary receives RSPO Certification

Foodingredients, September 19 2011

PT SMART Tbk (SMART), a subsidiary of Golden Agri- Resources Limited (GAR) has announced that it has received Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification. The certification covers 14,955 ha of plantations and one mill in North Sumatra. This certification is part of the ongoing certification of SMART and another GAR subsidiary, PT Ivo Mas Tunggal, which covers 103,953 hectares of plantations and 11 mills. This brings GAR closer to its overall target of obtaining RSPO certification for all its palm oil operations by December 2015.


Samworth Brothers moves to sustainable palm oil, September 12 2011

UK food maker Samworth Brothers has confirmed that the palm oil used in all its Ginsters pasties, slices and sausage rolls will now come from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)-certified sustainable sources. The chilled foods firm said Ginsters had previously been buying Green Palm certificates for the palm oil used within its margarine.


Ciranda earns RSPO certificate

Foodingredientsfirst, September 8 2011

Ciranda, a supplier of organic food ingredients, is sourcing palm oil from plantations that recently received certification from the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), after achieving EcoSocial certification in 2008. The certification of Brazil-based Agropalma, a leader in South America’s palm oil industry, represents Brazil’s first certification of sustainable palm oil.


Lantmännen purchases Sweden's first RTRS soy

Foodingredients, September 2 2011

Lantmännen purchased its first certificate for soy in accordance with the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), covering 30, 000 tonnes of soy, which currently equates to approximately 18% of Lantmännen's total soy volume. In this effort, Lantmännen has worked with one of its suppliers, Denofa, and their sub-supplier Amaggi.


Justin's Nut Butter and the Search for Sustainable Palm Oil

Greenbiz, August 2 2011

Justin's, a nut butter company from Colorado, is on track to have all of the palm oil in its nut butter squeeze packs and peanut butter cups certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Last July, the RSPO began auditing Agropalma, the palm oil producer Justin’s buys from, but the nut butter company is a step ahead of RSPO certification because it only buys organic palm oil from Agropalma. The producer already carries EcoSocial certification, a programme with environmental and social standards.


Cargill commits to supply RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil to customers by 2015

MVO, July 26 2011

Cargill has announced the palm oil products it supplies to its customers in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and/or sourced from smallholder growers by 2015 (this excludes palm kernel oil products). This commitment will be extended across all Cargill's oil and trading businesses to cover 100% of its palm oil products and all customers worldwide - including China and India - by 2020.


Waitrose commits to source 100% of soy from RTRS certified sources by 2015

MVO, July 26 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 the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) by December 2015. This announcement follows an on-going Waitrose commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil, as the retailer has committed to source 100% CSPO by the end of 2012.



Indonesia may raise palm oil sales to China, India 

Bloomberg, October 6 2011

Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil supplier, may increase sales to China and India after export taxes were cut for refined products. As a result, the country will find a much bigger market share especially in price-sensitive nations like China, India and Pakistan.


Malaysian Palm Oil Association won’t quit Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

The Star, October 4 2011

The Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) will not quit the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) grouping but it is advising its members to stop seeking new RSPO certification for the production of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). “We want to see the current RSPO certified palm oil production of 5.1 million tonnes be fully taken up by Western buyers,” said MPOA vice-chairman Boon Weng Siew.


Sustainable palm oil: Nestlé supply deal may be a game changer

Ethical Corp, October 3 2011

A recent decision by food giant Nestlé to re-instate a previously banned palm oil supplier on sustainability grounds may help make the business case for more sustainable palm oil. For campaigners and NGOs, such actions in encouraging and rewarding suppliers that do improve their standards is a positive, if limited, sign to reduce deforestation.


Palm oil and forests can grow together: World Bank

The Jakarta Post, October 3 2011

While Indonesia is on the right track with environmental preservation, economic growth can improve through clear incentives in forestry management, the World Bank says. Andrew Steer, the World Bank’s special envoy for climate change, said that to help boost the economy there should be a strong palm oil industry with expansion and exports, but Indonesia should do it in a different way. He said that locating palm oil plantation on 8.5 million hectares of degraded land would be a win-win solution.


Indonesia may use Norwegian funds for plantations

The Jakarta Post, October 3 2011

In already degraded natural forest areas, Indonesia might be able to establish oil palm plantations without violating the agreement with Norway, according to Erik Solheim, Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development. He added that the Indonesian Government has revoked a regulation that would have recognized oil palm plantations as forests. Indonesia has signed a Letter of Intent to seal US$1 billion fund assistance from Norway to conserve its rainforests under REDD+ projects


China Massively Imports Soy and Rapeseed Oil to Grow More

International Business Times, September 28, 2011

China's massive importation of soybean and rapeseed oil, including palm, is seen to cause a global imbalance in the production and supply chain of the commodity, Hamburg-based researcher Oil World said. Oil World reported the county's imports in the oilseed sector is reaching worrying proportions as domestic production may have a hard time keeping up with the demand. According to Oil World, the surge in domestic consumption is largely due to population overdrive, income growth as well as diet and lifestyle habits.


Lessons from the South: Regulating economic, environmental and social aspects of oil palm production

CIFOR blog, September 22 2011

Experts gathering at a South-South exchange at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) say that managing trade-offs between socio-economic benefits and environmental preservation are key to the development of the booming oil palm industry. The panel asserted that Ensuring that emerging oil palm industries are highly regulated and monitored will be critical for the sustainable development of small-scale crop production.


CYTASA, first Paraguayan producer to obtain RTRS certification

RTRS website, September 2011

An interview of Victor Álvarez Arias, Manager at Cytasa, describing the RTRS certification experience, certification processes in general, and the reason why sustainability plays a central role in the company objectives.


Golden Agri scheme gains traction

FinancialTimes (subscription required), September 20 2011

The article looks at the ‘comeback’ of Indonesian palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources after a string of buyer boycotts last year, in reaction to the company’s poor environmental record.


Nestlé resumes palm oil purchases from SMART

Food Ingredients, September 19 2011

PT SMART, an Indonesian palm oil producer, has announced that Nestlé has placed an order to resume palm oil purchases from the company. In March 2010, Nestlé had dropped Smart and its parent company Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) as a supplier of palm oil, as a result of Greenpeace campaigns against the company. The campaign group had accused SMART of rainforest destruction for the planting of oil palm trees in Indonesia.


Sustainable trade road map being prepared to boost exports

The Jakarta Post, September 12 2011

The Indonesian government is designing a road map for sustainable trade, which is expected to be finished in 2011. The road map is a bid to boost the country’s export edge and enhance the competitiveness of local products amidst new challenges from overseas markets.


Oil palm mills fined for polluting waterways

The Borneo Post, August 26 2011

Mukah Sessions Court in Malaysia has imposed the maximum fine on 3 oil palm mill companies for not complying with their licenses by discharging factory effluents into watercourses.


Oil palm residue could solve food vs. biofuel debate

Jakarta Globe, August 21 2011

The millions of tons of fibrous residue produced by palm oil plantations across Indonesia could become a major source of raw material for renewable fuel. The output would be high-grade ethanol that could be used as an alternative energy source for vehicles


RSPO is aimed at obtaining stakeholders’ support

The Star, August 13 2011

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Secretariat responds to some questions regarding the roundtable’s purpose, processes to guarantee that palm oil is indeed certified, auditing, and the perceived limited number of grower members in the RSPO, among others


Malaysia plans green palm oil certification scheme

Biofuels digest, August 4 2011

Malaysia, the world's second largest palm oil producer, is planning to launch a certification scheme for palm oil plantations following a recent directive by the Government for local oil palm authorities to work together to formulate a draft on the Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification.


15 million hectares of forests destroyed from 2000 to 2009: FWI

The Jakarta Post, July 27 2011

Indonesia lost 15 million hectares of forests from 2000 to 2009, a study conducted by Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) claims. Among the 15 million hectares of forest destroyed, 5.5 million hectares were in Kalimantan, with the worst condition in Central Kalimantan, which lost 2 million hectares. According to the study, deforestation was mainly caused by oil palm plantations and pulp companies.


A way through the forest fire haze

The Jakarta Globe, July 27 2011

In this opinion editorial, WWF’s Heart of Borneo Initiative Leader, Adam Tomasek, talks about the devastating health and ecosystem impacts of haze resulting from forest fires. He argues for a large-scale commitment by Indonesia to address this problem, through the ratification of the Transboundary Haze Agreement. The agreement could help the nation reach its targets of achieving 7% economic growth while reducing carbon emissions by 26-41% by 2020.


Indonesia appoints auditors for green palm oil body

MVO, July 26 2011

Indonesia has approved about a dozen independent auditors to certify companies against the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) standard.


European Commission recognizes RTRS EU RED scheme

MVO, July 26 2011

The European Commission has decided to recognize the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) EU RED scheme as a voluntary scheme with which compliance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive can be demonstrated. The RSPO palm oil scheme has not been recognized yet, but is expected to be included in the second batch of schemes to be evaluated by the European Commission.


Dutch Bakery and Sweets standard requires use of sustainable palm oil

MVO, July 26 2011

The Dutch Foundation on Environmental Labelling and the Dutch Bakery and Sweets Association have developed a standard for sustainable production, which allows operators in the bakery and sweets sector to independently prove they operate in a sustainable way. The standard, which contains requirements for the use of palm oil and products derived thereof, was developed at the request of the Dutch Bakery and Sweets Association, one of the members of the Dutch Task Force on Sustainable Palm Oil.


Jaap Oskam elected as new RTRS President

MVO, July 26 2011

Jaap Oskam of Nutreco has been elected as the third president of the executive board of the Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS). Jaap Oskam takes over from Jeroen Douglas of Solidaridad, who has chaired the organisation during the last two years. Read Jaap Oskam’s interview


Greenwash and spin: Palm oil lobby targets its critics

The Ecologist, July 8 2011

This feature looks into the palm oil industry’s efforts to roll out lobbying efforts aimed at altering negative perceptions of palm oil, and efforts to integrate sustainability concerns in the industry.


RTRS: “Good progress in India”

RTRS, July 2011

The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) National Technical Group (NTG) from India has been working on the National Interpretation of the RTRS Standard for India since 2009, when the standard field version was approved. It is expected that these interpretations can be used for the first certifications in India in 2011.


The SALSA project


The Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) is participating in the project Sustainable vAlue-added food chains: innovative tooLs for monitoring ethical, environmental and Socio-economical impacts and implementing EU-Latin America shared strategies, also known as SALSA Project, a research project funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the University of Bologna, Italy. The SALSA project grants Small and Medium Entreprises, along with small-scale farmers, access to markets by assisting them with standards and regulations compliance.


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Palmex Indonesia 2011
12-14 October 2011
Medan, Indonesia

The 3nd PALMEX Indonesia 2011 (Palm Oil Asia 2011) is the only specialized palm oil event in Asia that brings together an international congregation of both upstream and downstream palm oil companies, and also its supporting industries.

Find out more

9th Annual Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT9)

22-24 November 2011
Sabah, Malaysia

This year’s event is themed “Transforming the Market. Together.”

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International Conference on "Sabah-Heart of Borneo (HoB) Green Economy & Development: Engaging Business for the Environment"
15-16 November 2011
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

The specific objectives of the conference are to gain a common understanding of the real meaning of a green economy contrasted to business as usual; to better understand the economic contribution of the Heart of Borneo's natural capital to the State Development agenda; to share knowledge on the green economy initiatives and requirements (e.g. policy, mechanisms, incentives); and to map out a strategy or road map for a consolidated approach towards realising a green economy in the Heart of Borneo.

Find out more by emailing the SECRETARIAT

The Indonesian Palm Oil Conference & Price Outlook

30 November -2 December 2011
Bali, Indonesia

The Indonesian Palm Oil Conference & Price Outlook is an annual forum for the palm oil industry, organized by the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI). This event will provide detailed information on palm oil price forecasts, market dynamics, as well as discussions on the latest issues in the industry. Moreover, with attendance of more than a thousand people from around the world, this conference also provides an excellent opportunity to build up a business network within the international palm oil industry.

Find out more

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