Roundtable on sustainable palm oil

Roundtable on sustainable palm oil 19 November 2012

Sustainable palm oil in particular aims to address issues around land use change, including deforestation, climate change and land rights conflicts.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil – RSPO – is a multi-stakeholder initiative between NGOs and businesses that aim to secure the sustainability of the palm oil sector through the development of a credible voluntary standard, stakeholder engagement and a market transformation towards sustainable palm oil.

The RSPO is governed by a General Assembly and an Executive Board. It has more than 700 members from seven different stakeholder groups, namely, oil palm growers (representing half the world’s palm oil production), palm oil processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental/nature conservation NGOs and social/development NGOs. In consultation with its members, the RSPO has developed a standard for the production and use of sustainable palm oil that is made of eight Principles and 39 Criteria. Currently 10% of the global palm oil production has achieved certification.

Acknowledging the urgency of addressing the multitude of palm oil related land disputes and their effects on rural communities, the RSPO Executive Board endorsed the creation of a Dispute Settlement Facility (DSF) to deal with disputes in a preventive and remedial way. Palm oil producers which apply for RSPO certification will need to have existing land conflicts with local communities resolved. The DSF contributes by facilitating conflict resolution through non-legal mediation.

The implementation at scale of the RSPO standard and the resolution of land conflicts in particular is envisioned to reinvigorate and complement access to justice in the field of business and human rights in palm oil producing countries.

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