The RT14 of the Round Table on Sustainable Palmoil

Posted on: November 11, 2016

This week the 14 annual meeting of the RSPO (Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil) took place in Bangkok. The RT14  of the Round Table on Sustainable Palmoil.

A summary by Eddy Esselink and Thijs Pasmans

Bangkok, 11 November 2016. The theme of RT 14 was: "Learning to live together. From vision to transformation". More than 800 people gathered to discuss the developments in the field of the preservation of the palm oil supply chain and made plans for further cooperation in the coming period. 

Palm oil is a product that is used in many applications. In food, cosmetics, technical applications, etc. The demand for this versatile crop has increased in recent years. This is accompanied by loss of valuable nature and also social conditions are sometimes poor. The RSPO was created to fight these negative impacts.

The topics that are being discussed now are different than in those in the first years. Greenhouse gas emissions reduction for example. Development on peatlands, methane development as a result of the processing of the palm fruits and conversion are the main causes. More and more production companies are now engaged in the mapping of their emission.  An agreement between two methods for determining High Conservation Value areas was announced. The first version of the new manual is expected beginning 2017.

Another topic was the ' landscape ' approach. In short: combine all the interests and stakeholders and interests in a given area and form the optimal landscape. Formation of a group is a crucial step to the success of such an approach. 

During the RT is was clear that palm oil production is also very important for Thailand. 90% is produced by small holders. The Thai Government has developed a long term strategy for 2016-2036 that should lead to sustainable production. 

Reference was also given to the use of the so-called "No Palm Oil" labeling. It was said to have a negative effect and results in certain producers not becoming a member of the RSPO. There was a strong plea for avoiding forced labor. It was shown that there are still some problems in Indonesia with the status of the workers. 

An overview was given on development in Latin America, China, India, Africa and Singapore and Europe. Recently an Alliance for sustainable Palm oil is started in Singapore.  An update was given on the developments in Europe where both industry parties from different countries as well as some European governments want to work together on the use of sustainable palm oil.