The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has entered a new phase in the journey towards sustainable palm oil at the Annual Roundtable Conference (RT2023). The theme "Partners for the Next 20 Years" serves as a platform for RSPO to celebrate achievements, plan sustainable steps, and strengthen industry collaboration. This article will explore the key highlights of RT2023 and how RSPO continues to play a pivotal role in making palm oil sustainable.
Expansion of RSPO Certified Areas in Indonesia
One of the recent updates delivered by RSPO CEO, Joseph D'Cruz, is the growth of RSPO-certified areas in Indonesia, which increased by six per cent between January and September 2023. This data reflects Indonesia's commitment to adopting sustainable palm oil. The 19 per cent growth in RSPO members in Indonesia also indicates broad support from various sectors, including environmental NGOs, consumer goods producers, and small-scale farmers.
Production of Sustainable Palm Oil
RSPO CEO, Joseph D'Cruz, also shared significant achievements in the production of sustainable palm oil. Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) production reached 15.4 million tons in 2022, showing a 2.9 per cent growth from the previous year. This not only has economic impacts but also reaffirms the central role of the palm oil sector in the Indonesian economy.
Traceability System and Industry Digitalization
In response to the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), RSPO launched the Certification, Trade, and Traceability System (CTTS) in October 2023. Developed through a tripartite consortium involving global agricultural technology experts, this system exemplifies how RSPO is advancing and digitizing traceability systems. This effort is a proactive step in addressing increasingly stringent global regulations, starting with the EUTR.
RSPO's Role in Smallholder Inclusion
The RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF) continues to support small-scale farmers. Since 2013, RSSF has provided funding of $4.2 million to support over 44,000 farmers in 12 countries. RT2023 places a specific focus on small-scale farmers, exploring opportunities and pathways to facilitate greater inclusion in environmentally friendly supply chains.
RSPO Standards Revision
The technical revision process of the RSPO 2018 Principles and Criteria and the RSPO 2019 Independent Smallholder Standards is underway. This review is a crucial step in producing a set of updated standards in 2024. RSPO's sustainability and resilience standards will be further enhanced to meet changing regulatory and market expectations.
RSPO Excellence Awards
The conference also featured the RSPO Excellence Awards, honouring 15 RSPO members for their outstanding contributions to sustainable palm oil. This includes innovation, conservation leadership, impact on small-scale farmers, communication for good, and collective responsibility.
Conclusion: Looking to the Future
RT2023 is not only a stage for celebrating RSPO's achievements over the past two decades but also for looking towards a sustainable future. RSPO remains committed to actively shaping the palm oil industry towards sustainability, driving innovation, and strengthening partnerships.
With the spirit of "Partners for the Next 20 Years," RSPO and industry stakeholders hope to create a future where sustainable palm oil becomes the standard, providing sustainable economic and environmental benefits.