Companies say more robust sanctions are needed to break the link with deforestation
Many in the palm oil world were surprised in March of this year when the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) suspended the certification of one of the organisation’s founding members, Malaysia’s IOI Corporation Berhad. Then in early August a new surprise: RSPO’s complaints board lifted IOI’s suspension after just five months. But the world’s clamour for the palm industry to go further in breaking the link between palm oil and deforestation is only getting louder, and major consumer goods companies Unilever, Nestléand Procter & Gamble said they would continue their boycott of IOI.
Prior to suspending IOI’s sustainability certification, critics say RSPO was sluggish in responding to complaints about members made by NGOs such as Aidenvironment, which has worked for 20 years to make the palm sector more sustainable. However, since Aidenvironment’s complaint that IOI was “seriously flouting” RSPO rules in the Indonesia province of Kalimantan, there has been an apparent increase in transparency.
In July a joint Aidenvironment/IOI report was published detailing actions the company must take, including removal of all “overplanted”, or non-authorised, palms put in since 2009, as well as allowing external monitoring of concession boundaries.
RSPO global outreach and engagement director Stefano Savi said verification of...