Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was created in 2003 by the World Wildlife Fund in conjunction with government and corporate interests invested in the palm industry. The mission of RSPO is to advance sustainable palm farming practices and to promote social responsibility. Each year the RSPO hosts an international conference that brings together industry players, government bodies, NGO’s, and environmental groups to discuss the issues brought on by palm agriculture and to find solutions to its problems. While it sometimes seems like environmental concerns like forest degradation and wildlife loss are “greenwashed” by certain groups in the palm industry, we are a proud member of the RSPO and enthusiastically support its efforts. It’s a difficult task mediating so many conflicting interests, and the RSPO has done a commendable job of stepping up to the plate and initiating progress towards sustainability.

A few of the key elements to RSPO’s criteria for sustainable certification include:

  • Environmental and wildlife assessments must be made for every plantation, and conservation plans established to protect native forests and animals
  • A zero-burn policy for plantation operators who are members
  • The right to use the land must be demonstrated, and is not being legitimately contested by local communities
  • Farming practices maintain or improve soil fertility and stability, as well as maintain surface and ground water quality
  • Integrated Pest Management techniques are used to combat pests and weeds
  • Renewable energy is maximized
  • Plans to reduce pollution and emissions are put into effect
  • Members promote positive social programs
  • Members commit to operating transparently

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