Buyer policy listing: Ferrero says added EUR 1/person/year cost to EU consumers for low-contaminant & sustainable palm oil

Here's a gradually expanding listing of recent buyer policy updates on palm oil. Update for Cargill, added to top of this and sequence for most recent from the top. Early updates include: Walmart on organic, MPONGOC, J&J and a listing of TFT clients, Kao and Greenpeace challenge to key India and China producers and Adelaide Zoo switch form "palm oil free" to certified frozen desserts; adds on supply-chain certification news and the Cargill-TFT link up. Interesting contrast between Krispy and Dunkin. Also a report from Forest Heroes which seeks to "saves the Sumatran Tiger." It has a "media hit" with its campaign on Kellogg's Frosties (which has a tiger mascot). Hershey joined TFT, and Greenpeace and UCS reactions added - basically with critique of lack of third party verification and strict deadline under the TFT program. Then Bunge shifted to traceability and set to avoid high risk sourcing zones. Mondelez sets out rules on online data mapping, deforestation, and labour rights.

27 Nov 2017: Ferrero says added EUR 1/person/year cost to EU consumers for low-contaminant & sustainable palm oil

Editor's note: Also interesting to chat with mill process engineer expert who wrote this: How Cancer causing substances crept into food products containing palm oil? 20/11/2017 By EnergyWise 

Ferrero decided to directly obtain RSPO certified segregated palm oil, which keeps sustainable palm oil physically separated from non-sustainable palm oil and source it from certified sustainable plantations to the production line... "We also wanted a commitment from smallholders, (from whom RSPO was sourced), including (an assurance that they are) not using paraquat," he told Malaysia journalists after a talk on the food sector and sustainable palm oil policies at the European Palm Oil Conference on Thursday.... "So, the issue here is not in finding the right palm oil, because there is lot of palm oil in the market. The issue is whether the industry is ready to pay the right premium for the (RSPO) palm oil" he asked. Hence, for best practices in sustainable palm oil and low contaminants in palm oil, Ferrero pays a premium of 130 euros per tonne, which sums up to an additional 25 million euros, annually.... However, the impact of the price on the final product to the consumers is almost irrelevant, said Charrier. He said the company sourced 180,000 tonnes of palm oil or 0.3 per cent of the total global production annually. Out of which, 90 per cent came from Malaysia and the rest from other producing countries. "So, if all edible palm oil used in EU has the same premium as Ferrero, the extra cost would be 500 million euros per annum - that would go to the upstream of Malaysia and Indonesia. "Assuming this extra cost is fully passed to EU consumers, that would mean one euro per capita per year," he explained....

9 Dec 2016: Can the big brand buyers really get enough sustainable product?

Confidence in secure commodity supply chains 'misplaced' By David Burrows, 08-Dec-2016 -- Confident there’s enough soy, palm oil and beef to go around and your policies can weather the risks ahead on everything from climate change and deforestation to reputation and regulation? Think again, say the authors of two new reports. .... Almost three quarters (72%) of the firms believe they will be able to access a secure and sustainable supply of forestrisk commodities going forward. But this confidence may be “misplaced” for a number of reasons, CDP warned. For example, just one in five firms is looking at risks beyond the next six years, whilst only 30% of manufacturers and retailers can trace these commodities back to the point of origin. Fewer than half (42%) have evaluated the impact of the availability or quality of the commodities on their growth strategies further than 2020....

7 Dec 2016: Mondelez International palm supplier requirements, worries about saturated fats formulations

US food and beverage multinational Mondelez International set out new requirements on 10 November for its suppliers of palm oil. Key new provisions in its updated Palm Oil Action Plan require suppliers to:
- Map and assess the risk for all supplying mills on Global Forest Watch (an interactive on-line forest monitoring and alert system)
- Provide assurance that no deforestation occurs on their own concessions and exclude third-party suppliers who do not immediately cease deforestation
- Work with recognised third-party experts to protect labour rights

Findings point to risk from saturated fats outside some reduction guidelines, Harvard-Unilever study confirms link between sat fats, heart disease & importance of reformulation By Nathan Gray+ 28-Nov-2016 -- However, it goes further than previous studies by identifying links between specific saturated fatty acids – including stearic acid, which some countries such as France do not currently include in saturated fat legislation…. “Research from us and others has shown that some dairy products (such as yoghurt) and odd-chain fatty acids circulating in the blood seem to have health benefits rather than health harms, and this requires further study.”

And back in 2013…Industry saturated fat pledge is a ‘mixed message’ and ‘bit of hype’, says obesity expert By Caroline Scott-Thomas+ 28-Oct-2013 -- A food industry pledge to reduce the saturated fat content in a range of foods is a ‘bit of hype’ and will fail to change diets unless more companies sign up, according to trustee of the National Obesity Forum Tam Fry.... The UK Department of Health’s public health minister Jane Ellison announced the pledge on Saturday, under which some of the signatory companies have pledged to remove saturated fat from their products, and others have said they would reduce saturated fat content.... “It’s hugely encouraging that companies providing almost half of the food available on the UK market have committed to this new Responsibility Deal pledge and they are leading the way to give their customers healthier products and lower fat alternatives,” Ellison said in a statement.... According to the DoH, cutting saturated fat consumption by 15% could prevent around 2,600 premature deaths a year in the UK, from conditions such as cardiovascular disease and stroke....

10 July 2016: Michelin goes for Greenpeace's HCS Approach

Greenpeace France’s reaction to Michelin Zero Deforestation Commitment Press release - June 13, 2016 -- Michelin Group, world leading tyre manufacturer and first world buyer of natural rubber just published a zero deforestation procurement policy based on the methodology High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach

13 December 2015: Hershey- TFT update, Proforest sourcing guidelines, Proforest - AAK, Vopak Vlaardingen, the first RSPO terminal worldwide. Croda and BASF. Uptake problem. Rabobank forecast. Swedish initiative.

Hershey Expands Sustainable Sourcing Efforts with New Deforestation Commitments December 03, 2015  •New Pulp and Paper Policy expands commitment to help prevent deforestation  •Palm Oil Tracing Update: Tracing to mills nearly complete and mapping to plantations ahead of schedule... “Preventing deforestation has never been more important,” said Susanna Zhu, Chief Procurement Officer at The Hershey Company. “We continue to learn more about the geography of our palm oil supply chain and are having productive conversations with suppliers about our expectations. While we’re pleased with our palm oil sustainable sourcing progress so far, we know there is more work to be done. This effort, along with our Pulp and Paper Policy, will help us continue to ensure that we’re achieving our high sustainable sourcing standards.” ...Beyond pulp and paper sourcing, Hershey’s additional efforts to reduce its impact on deforestation include the company’s ongoing work with The Forest Trust (TFT) to trace its palm oil supply chain to mills and plantations. As of the second quarter of 2015, Hershey has traced its supply chain to approximately 90 percent of all the mills where the company’s palm oil is processed. Additionally, Hershey has achieved 10 percent traceability of its palm volume to the original palm oil plantations. These results keep Hershey ahead of schedule to deliver planation-level traceability by the end of 2016.

Proforest - New guide to responsible sourcing published 04.11.2015  - Proforest publishes new practical guide to implementing responsible sourcing commitments

Sourcing palm oil responsibly: our partnership with AAK. 21.10.2015 With Proforest's support, palm oil giant AAK has achieved 100 percent traceability of its palm oil to mill. Here, Proforest director and co-founder Neil Judd talks about the partnership, what it means to be a 'critical friend' and the Proforest approach to responsible sourcing. AAK partnered with Proforest in May 2014...

Vopak Vlaardingen, the first RSPO terminal worldwide 03 December 2015, Vopak Vlaardingen is the first terminal in the world to obtain RSPO certification. RSPO stands for 'Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil '. This organisation was created ten years ago, with the aim of developing standards for sustainable palm oil production, in order to promote and enhance the production and consumption of sustainable palm oil

Croda bags Certified Sustainable Palm Oil for its global manufacturing facilities By Simon Pitman+, 09-Nov-2015  With the growing importance on sourcing and processing sustainable palm oil, Croda has fulfilled requirements for all of its manufacturing facilities to comply with industry standards.

Low uptake of sustainable palm oil  7 November 2015... Only half of RSPO-certified palm oil finds a buyer. THERE is a sluggish uptake of sustainable palm oil, and the frequent excuse is that nobody wants to pay the premium. What is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) response to this?... Bek-Nielsen (who is RSPO co-chair, MPOA): People generally do not like broken promises. Growers are no exception and the growers who committed themselves to the RSPO in many instances feel short-changed. The producers have taken a leap of faith undergoing an herculean task (not without costs) to live up to the standards of sustainable palm oil set in force by a number of stakeholders, amongst them NGOs and multinationals like WWF, Conservation International and Unilever to mention a few....

Palm oil demand growth offers opening for niche certified producers By RJ Whitehead, 05-Nov-2015 Global demand for certified sustainable palm oil will double in five years, growing from 5.3m tonnes in 2014 to 11m by 2020, predicts Rabobank.

Swedish initiative for sustainable palm oil in chemical products by Joakim Persson / on November 1, 2015  Suppliers, manufacturers and retailers in Sweden have joined together in an initiative enabling a long-term switch to more sustainably produced, certified and traceable palm oil in both cosmetics and hygiene products such as detergents and cleaning products, reports

Is RSPO certification becoming irrelevant? By Niamh Michail+, 28-Oct-2015 Companies are increasingly demanding certified palm oil using criteria that are stricter than current RSPO standards – does the mean the RSPO certification is in danger of becoming irrelevant?

BASF’s 'new palm positioning' on RSPO certification in Asia By Michelle Yeomans+, 27-Oct-2015 BASF is expanding its commitment to only source RSPO-certified sustainable raw materials with upstream traceability for palm oil and palm kernel oil fractions and edible oil esters by 2025.

PepsiCo’s palm oil pledge should not exempt Indofood, NGOs say - The global food and beverage giant recently promised to source deforestation-free palm oil, but green groups say the commitment should apply to joint venture partners that sell its branded partners. That includes Indofood, Indonesia's largest food company. by  29 October 2015

A new business model for palm oil? The recent haze in Southeast Asia has sparked renewed calls for alternatives to palm oil products. In this interview, Forum for the Future founder Jonathon Porritt tells Eco-Business why the industry - which also provides thousands of livelihoods worldwide - needs a new business model, not boycotts.  By Vaidehi Shah  16 October 2015

19 October 2015: BASF, PepsiCo, Cargill

BASF Expands Production Capacity for Emollients and Waxes in China NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2015/10/08 - BASF will expand its emollients and waxes production capacity with a new plant at its site in Jinshan, Shanghai - DE000BASF111

BusinessCase: Sustainability Initiatives Have Saved PepsiCo Over $375M Since 2010 September 25, 2015; The water, energy, packaging and waste-reduction initiatives have been tallied up, and PepsiCo, Inc. asserts that its environmental sustainability initiatives have saved the company more than $375 million since its goals were established in 2010. The company proudly announced this week that it also delivered double-digit net revenue and operating profit growth during the same time period, demonstrating a solid business case. The results of PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose commitment are detailed in its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Report, and first-ever sustainability microsite, PepsiCo says the microsite is “an interactive and immersive experience” to engage users in discussion around how we will grow sustainably, thrive in a changing environment, and create opportunity.

Cargill Marks Anniversary of No-Deforestation Pledge With New Forest Policy; Greenpeace Wants More September 18, 2015 by Sustainable Brands; On Wednesday, just a few days from the first anniversary of the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) — an international, multi-sector commitment to safeguard the world’s forests and to help tackle climate change signed by Cargill and other major multinational companies, governments, and civil society organizations at last year’s UN Climate Summit — Cargill released a new Policy on Forests. Backed by forest protection action plans for Cargill’s priority commodity supply chains, the policy sets a comprehensive approach for the company in its efforts to prevent forest loss. “Deforestation is a global issue, but a local challenge. We’re committed to working with farmers, government, business, advocacy organizations and consumers to help craft and implement solutions tailored to the diverse landscapes we seek to protect,” said Paul Conway, Cargill’s vice chairman. “Our Policy on Forests is one of the ways we are working to feed a growing population while also sustaining vital forest ecosystems for generations to come.”


13 September 2015: Starbucks, Oregon Zoo

Starbucks and palm oil, wake up and smell the coffee  Sponsored by: RSPO By Hanna Thomas Tuesday 25 August 2015 16.31 BST; Consumer action is vital if we’re going to tackle deforestation and social exploitation in the palm oil supply chain

Oregon Zoo to only sell food made with responsibly produced palm oil Posted:  Aug 25, 2015 4:34 AM Updated:  Aug 25, 2015 4:34 AM   By FOX 12 Staff Vivian, a Malayan sun bear, climbs a log at the Oregon Zoo. Sun bears are one of many species threatened by deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.Vivian, a Malayan sun bear, climbs a log at the Oregon Zoo. Sun bears are one of many species threatened by deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.
PORTLAND, OR  Read more:

7 September 2015: Clorox's commitment

Clorox Company’s New Palm Oil Commitment is a Step Forward September 3, 2015; WASHINGTON (September 3, 2015) – The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today commended the Clorox Company for committing to responsibly sourcing palm oil in its supply chain by 2020; Clorox Company uses palm oil in product lines such as Burt’s Bees and Green Works, which the company markets as “natural” and environmentally friendly. “This is a win for forests,” said Lael Goodman, an analyst with UCS’s Tropical Forests and Climate Initiative. “Clorox’s competitors, including Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive, have already issued deforestation-free palm oil commitments, so it’s good to see Clorox follow their lead, especially since they market some of their products as green. ” Earlier this year, UCS scored 10 major personal care companies on their palm oil sourcing standards.

24 August 2015: Why are companies hiding their sustainable credentials? FoodNavigator (some details)

Why are companies hiding their sustainable credentials? By Niamh Michail, 29-Jul-2015; Eco-labels make food taste better and consumers feel better about themselves. They boost a company's image and consumers are willing to pay more. And yet despite these benefits, only around half of total RSPO certified palm oil is sold as certified sustainable according to a report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), while just 35% of cocoa certified by the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ or Fairtrade bear a certification logo. For sugar the figures are even lower – in 2012 only 16% of certified sustainable cane sugar was sold as such, said the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN ). But why would companies go to pains to certify a key ingredient and then not inform their consumers?....
  • some feature it in certain brands as upmarket and niche and up the price tag
  • supply and demand are not always in sync and in part by a lack of industry commitment in certain consumer markets to sourcing and paying - RSPO
  • Rainforest Alliance logo may only be used if the certified ingredient was a ‘core ingredient’ ... or if it made up at least 30% of the total product
  • manufacturers weren't looking to conceal the sustainability of the ingredient – but rather the presence of the ingredient itself
  • in some countries sustainability issues simply do not resonate with consumers – such as India and China
  • Elsewhere it could be the exact opposite problem – that Western consumers are suffering from eco-label fatigue
  • standardisation of sustainability will further reduce the need for companies to communicate their efforts

22 August 2015:  Interest in sustainably sourced palm oil in India is minimal

Without India, you can forget about achieving a sustainable palm oil sector - All eyes are on India, the world’s largest palm oil importer, and whether companies can help shift consumers towards sustainable choices; India’s 1.2 billion citizens consume approximately 15% of the global supply of palm oil. The vast majority of the commodity (95% according to WWF figures) is used as edible oil, with the remainder added to haircare and beauty products. The country imports nearly all of its palm oil, more than two-­thirds of which is sourced from Indonesia.... At the annual World Bank conference on land and poverty held in Washington in March, Prabianto Mukti Wibowo, assistant deputy minister for forestry in Indonesia’s economic affairs ministry said: “We know that our primary customers are not concerned about deforestation.”
Unlike the boycotts and consumer awareness in Europe and the US, interest in sustainably sourced palm oil in India is minimal, putting little pressure on the domestic market to shift to more sustainable sources.

19 August 2015: Italian politicians defend palm oil, Why are companies hiding their sustainable credentials? FoodNavigator news. Consumer Goods Forum palm oil sourcing guidelines.

Italian politicians defend palm oil By Caroline Scott-Thomas+, 18-Aug-2015
Italian politicians have submitted two resolutions to parliament defending alm oil in the face of anti-palm oil campaigns, calling it a raw material of fundamental importance for Italian industry.

Why are companies hiding their sustainable credentials? By Niamh Michail+, 29-Jul-2015; A sustainable logo is known to add value to a brand – so why are so many manufacturers not showing their Fairtrade, organic or sustainable credentials?

The Consumer Goods Forum Publishes Palm Oil Sourcing Guidelines  Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2015 12:16  Consumer Goods Industry’s First Ever Set of Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Guidelines to Help Drive Implementation of ‘Zero Net Deforestation’ Resolution; PARIS, 11th August 2015 – The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) today announced publication of the first-ever ‘Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Guidelines’ (the “Guidelines”). This publicly available document is an important step in helping the consumer goods and retail industries to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, as outlined in the CGF’s Deforestation Resolution....

20 June 2015: Nutella flap - Greenpeace defends position for maker which is part of POIG and apparent client of The Forest Trust (associated with Greenpeace in both)

Greenpeace says boycotting Nutella is wrong – it’s NOT destroying the planet by Lianna Brinded Jun. 18, 2015, 6:34 PM; Greenpeace says French ecology minister Segolene Royal is wrong – Nutella is not destroying the planet and a ban wouldn’t solve the world’s environmental problems.
A couple of day ago Royal went on French television network Canal+ and said that people should stop eating the popular hazelnut spread because harvesting one of its key ingredients, palm oil, leads to deforestation. But environmental activist group Greenpeace has now told news website Quartz that “a blanket boycott of this agricultural crop will not solve problems in its production.”
It also told the site that Ferrero, Nutella’s maker, is actually a supporter of the Palm Oil Innovation Group, which includes Greenpeace, other non-governmental organisations, and some palm oil producers. .....

'Stop eating Nutella' urges French ecology minister Agence France-Presse, Paris | World | Tue, June 16 2015, 11:34 PM; France's ecology minister, Segolene Royal, has rankled the company that makes Nutella by urging the public to stop eating its irresistible chocolate hazelnut spread, saying it contributes to deforestation."We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming. We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it's made with palm oil," Royal said in an interview late Monday on the French television network Canal+."Oil palms have replaced trees, and therefore caused considerable damage to the environment," she explained.Nutella, she said, should be made from "other ingredients".The comments needled Ferrero, the giant Italian chocolate group that makes Nutella.Without referring to Royal directly, the company issued a statement Tuesday saying it was aware of the environmental stakes and had made commitments to source palm oil in a responsible manner.Ferrero gets nearly 80 percent of its palm oil from Malaysia. The rest of its supply comes from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Brazil. - See more at:

7 June 2015: PepsiCo, Wal-Mart, others ask RSPO to strengthen standards; Europe set for 100% CSPO by 2020, segregated palm oil excludes small producers? Mondelez plan.

PepsiCo, Wal-Mart, others seek stronger palm oil standards  6/1/2015 -  by Jeff Gelski The R.S.P.O. was formed in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through global standards and stakeholder engagement.
BOSTON — Multinational food companies and institutional investors representing more than $5 trillion in assets signed a June 1 letter seeking stronger environmental and social regulations to qualify for certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
ConAgra Foods, Inc.; Dunkin’ Brands; General Mills, Inc.; The Kellogg Co.; Mars, Inc.; PepsiCo, Inc.; and Starbucks were some of the food companies signing the letter sent to  Datuk Darrel Webber, secretary general of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Retail chains signing the letter included Albertsons-Safeway and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Other consumer packaged goods companies signing the letter included Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Cos

European Palm Oil Industry Sets Course for 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil by 2020  Published: June 4, 2015 6:52 a.m. ETAMSTERDAM, Jun 04, 2015 (PR Newswire Europe via COMTEX) -- AMSTERDAM, June 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Third European RSPO roundtable: regional objectives, tougher enforcement rules and innovative sustainability standards A new drive to address palm oil's global sustainability challenges emerged at RSPO's third European Roundtable held yesterday in Amsterdam, gathering an audience of around two hundred and eighty industries, NGOs and stakeholders from palm oil producing and importing countries. While all parties agreed that RSPO certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) is part of the answer and acknowledged the work done by RSPO so far, they did not see any room for complacency and stressed the importance of change.

Could Europe’s drive to segregated palm oil exclude small producers? By Caroline Scott-Thomas+SCOTT-THOMAS, 02-Jun-2015 A European push toward segregated certified sustainable palm oil may inadvertently exclude smaller producers from the supply chain, says GreenPalm manager Bob Norman.

Mondelez’s sustainable palm oil plan: “We want the whole supply chain to transform” By Caroline Scott-Thomas+, 01-Jun-2015 Mondelez International is on track to meet its goal of sourcing 100% traceable palm oil by the end of the year after reaching 70% traceability in 2014, says global director of sustainability Jonathan Horrell.

24 May 2015: Yum! Promised to Improve its Palm Oil Sourcing Policy Starting 2017, Colgate-Palmolive Releases 2014 Sustainability Report

Yum! Promised to Improve its Palm Oil Sourcing Policy Starting 2017 Byjason-seligman on May 19, 2015 The new policy sets December 2017 for putting up the latest safeguards when looking for palm oil sources. Yum!  said it will only source palm oil  from suppliers which set improvement in their carbon emission level and protect rainforests and peat terrains.  The giant fast food restaurant will implement the new roles in all its operations down to the restaurant levels. Greenpeace immediately praised the declaration, which led a crusade campaign in 2012 against the company’s paper pulp operation. Rolf Skar, Forest Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA said that Greenpeace wants Yum! to ” define more clearly terms like ‘high carbon stock forest’ and ‘best management practices’ for peat lands in order to make sure change really happens on the ground.” However, an advocacy organization called the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), on Wednesday gave a score card for the company, zero out of 100 rank on its palm oil policy, wanted Yum! to pledge much more that what is promising to do.

Colgate-Palmolive Releases 2014 Sustainability Report That Details Progress on the Company’s Sustainability Strategy Submitted by: Colgate-Palmolive Company   Posted:  May 18, 2015 – 07:00 AM EST  NEW YORK, May 18 /CSRwire/ - Colgate-Palmolive has released its 2014 Sustainability Report titled, Giving the World Reasons to Smile. This annual report details Colgate’s long-standing commitments and achievements regarding sustainability and social responsibility around the world.  This year’s highlights include: • Colgate improved the sustainability profile in 72 percent of new products and the balance of its portfolio in 2014 (based on representative products evaluated against comparable Colgate products). • Colgate reduced greenhouse gas intensity by 19.7 percent and energy use intensity by 19.1 percent since 2005 and was named a U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for the fifth year in a row, with recognition for Sustained Excellence.

16 May 2015: Forgot to post this before, a rather dramatic and unusual even ton an app to show products containing palm oil

'You will need to watch your back': The cowardly note threatening Aussie woman's family for developing app that shows which products contain jungle-wrecking palm oil By Freya Noble for Daily Mail Australia  Published: 13:30 GMT, 24 March 2015  | Updated: 15:18 GMT, 24 March 2015. A letter was sent to Lorinda Jane threatening her and her daughter. It claimed they knew where she lived and to 'watch her back.' She is President and Founder of not-for-profit Palm Oil Investigations (POI). POI are launching an app on Wednesday evening at 7pm. It tells consumers whether a product contains palm oil;

1 May 2015: The Corporate Capture of Sustainable Development by Leslie Sklair; /khorreports-palmoil/2015/05/the-corporate-capture-of-sustainable.html

22 April 2015: McDonald's supply chain commitment - refers to NY Declaration and HCS Approach

McDonald's to axe deforestation from its global supply chain - The fast-food giant announced it will work with its suppliers to end deforestation in its global supply chain. But do the super-sized claims stack up? by Siri Srinivas Tuesday 21 April 2015 22.06 BST; Global fast-food giant McDonald’s on Tuesday pledged to end deforestation across its entire supply chain..... The announcement follows recent similar pledges by Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Yum Brands and many others. But the World Wildlife Fund, which advised McDonald’s on its new commitment, said it could have big influence on other fast-food chains...... “McDonald’s brings size and scale to the debate of sustainable sourcing. Their reach is large, they are global, they work closely with the suppliers and so this outreach can only help,” said David McLaughlin, vice president of agriculture at the World Wildlife Fund. .........In an eight-point commitment, McDonald’s promises not to contribute to deforestation in areas most critical to reducing carbon in the atmosphere, known as high carbon value and high carbon stock forests. These are areas of high environmental value, including high biodiversity, as well as high value to their communities, that are often in danger of being cleared to make way for plantations. The world’s largest fast-food chain also said it would not source commodities from peatlands, or swampy areas that store a lot of carbon and can end up contributing to greenhouse gas emissions when disturbed. This commitment will affect 3,100 of its global direct suppliers as well as its more complex network of indirect suppliers, said Michele Banik-Rake, director of sustainability for McDonald’s worldwide supply chain management.......Also on Tuesday, the company released a sustainable sourcing statement outlining how it will work with suppliers to ensure that the beef, poultry, coffee, palm oil and fiber-based packaging it uses do not contribute to deforestation.
In the commitment, the company also said it would respect human rights and verify where the raw materials used to make its products come from. The company said that it will suspend or eliminate purchases from suppliers who do not meet its requirements. McDonald’s will also evaluate its progress in annual reports......In a palm oil scorecard released by the Union of Concerned Scientists earlier this month, McDonald’s fared poorly on its palm oil deforestation record, but the company, like other major brands, recognized global gaps in sustainable sourcing, said Lael Goodman, the author of the report......While McDonald’s said that its policy is effective immediately, their actual targets for zero-deforestation may be five to 15 years away. This is in line with the New York declaration on forests that it signed at the United Nation’s climate summit in September, along with other global corporations, to end deforestation due to agricultural commodities by 2020 and the loss of natural forests by 2030. Critics of the New York declaration called the 2030 target for ending deforestation and 2020 target for agricultural commodities unambitious, but others said it was worth applauding as a step in the right direction. ....The supply chain hub is sponsored by the Fairtrade Foundation. All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled “brought to you by”. Find out more here....

Macdonald's Commitment on Deforestation:
Note: It talks of NY Declaration as well as the HCS Approach (Greenpeace-TFT-Forest Heroes and also used by Wilmar, GAR etc.)

4 April 2015: KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut adopt zero deforestation policy - with HCS and better labour policies - to apply to global restaurants, with Dec 2017 target.

KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut adopt zero deforestation policy for palm oil by Rhett A. Butler,  April 03, 2015; Yum! Brands, the company that owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, on Thursday announced a zero deforestation policy for its palm oil sourcing. The move came after aggressive campaigns by environmental groups that argued the chains weren't doing enough to ensure the palm oil they used to fry foods wasn't linked to human rights abuses, destruction of peatlands, and logging of rainforests. The policy sets a December 2017 target for establishing safeguards for palm oil sourcing. Yum! says it will only source from suppliers who bar plantation development in high carbon stock and high conservation value areas, like rainforests and peatlands; have disputes resolution processes in place; offer traceability to the mill level; and avoid underage workers and forced labor. The standards apply Yum!'s global fast food business, meaning it applies to all of its restaurants.Yum! has a similar set of guidelines for its paper and fiber sourcing..... The announcement was quickly welcomed by Greenpeace, which campaigned against the company's pulp and paper sourcing practices in 2012. “Yum! Brands’ new palm oil policy is a good sign it’s listening to customers around the world who want rainforest destruction taken off the menu.” said Rolf Skar, Forest Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA.  Skar added that Greenpeace still wants Yum! to "more clearly define terms like 'high carbon stock forest' and 'best management practices' for peatlands in order to make sure change really happens on the ground."... However the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), an advocacy group that on Wednesday released a scorecard giving Yum! a zero out of 100 rank on its palm oil policy, wanted more from the company.....

Zero Deforestation arrangement for Palm oil to be implemented by KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut  April 5, 2015; Yum! Brands, the organization that claims KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, on Thursday reported a zero deforestation arrangement for its palm oil sourcing. The move came after forceful battles by ecological gatherings that argued that the restaurants weren’t doing what’s needed to guarantee the palm oil they used to cook food wasn’t connected to human rights misuses, obliteration of peat lands, and logging of rainforests.... The strategy sets December 2017 as focus for creating shields for palm oil sourcing. Yum! says it will just come from suppliers who block farmstead advancement in high carbon stock and high preservation esteem ranges, in the same way as rainforests and peat lands; have debate determination forms set up; offer traceability to the plant level; and evade underage laborers and constrained work.... The benchmarks apply Yum’s! worldwide fast food business, the importance it applies to every last bit of its restaurants.
Yum! has a comparable arrangement of rules for its paper and fiber sourcing.... The declaration was immediately accepted by Greenpeace, which battled against the organization’s mash and paper sourcing practices in 2012....

Some palm oil specialists point to the higher yield of palm oil and the larger area competitor oils use, a typical argument and rebuttal:

Attan Akmar: A pound of palm oil is produced on a tenth of the farm area required to produce the same quantity of soy oil. It's soy oil that should be discouraged especially after millions of acres
Denise Jurcyk ·  Top Commenter · Chicago, Illinois: Well said but.... that was a long time ago and it was not forest but prairie. Which is , if slowly being replanted. Rain forest has so much diversity and large mammals that are threatened with extinction , we must save . We learned our lessons and it's time to save the rainforests and it's inhabitants and the planet. Maybe you should develop agricultural methods that can greatly increase the production on land already cleared. And Stop clear cutting the rainforest !Maybe science can replace the use of palm oil !

3 April 2015: ADM Commits to No-Deforestation Policy for Soybeans, Palm Oil 

ADM Commits to No-Deforestation Policy for Soybeans, Palm Oil  'By'Shruti Date Singh  12:00 AM HKT  April 1, 2015; (Bloomberg) -- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., a global supplier of agricultural commodities, has pledged to curb deforestation that results from the farming of soybeans and palm trees.  ADM is committing to developing ways to trace crops it processes, make those supply chains transparent and protect forests globally, according to Victoria Podesta, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company. The policy “combines a clear commitment to no deforestation with progressive action focused on our most critical supply chains,” Podesta said Monday in an e-mailed statement.  The policy for soy production is the first for that crop, said Lucia von Reusner, an activist for Boston-based Green Century Capital Management Inc., a mutual fund manager that focuses on sustainability. Suppliers representing about 96 percent of globally traded palm oil already have adopted such measures, Green Century said in a statement Tuesday.

4 February 2015: LG Household & Health Care goes RSPO Segregated / SG at Ulsan and Onsan plants

LG Household & Health Care Acquires RSPO Certification by Jeana Shin 2 February 2015
LG Household & Health Care's two factories, in Ulsan and Onsan, South Korea, have received certifications from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international certification body. This significant step elevates LG Household & Health Care to equal global companies like Unilever and Basf.... LG Household & Health Care started to build a system for producing surfactants, which use eco-friendly palm oil, from 2013 in its Ulsan and Onsan factories as the demands for RSPO-certified products increased recently in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
It completed a system to use and manufacture the raw materials of palm oil that complies with RSPO Segregation requirements in every aspect of the process, from from raw material storage, production, product storage to shipment.... LG Household & Health Care plans to reinforce its overseas raw material business by exporting surfactant from its RSPO-certified palm oil....

18 January 2015: PepsiCo Doritos targeted

PepsiCo Fires Back at Doritos Spoof Ad Viewed 1.5 Million Times By Duane D. Stanford  Jan 16, 2015 3:01 AM GMT+0800; PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) dismissed as a “stunt” a social-media video posted by environmental activists challenging the snack maker’s reliance on palm oil in Doritos.
The clip, which was released by as a spoof of a Doritos commercial, alleges that PepsiCo’s palm-oil use destroys rain forests and kills animals. After the ad gained a following online, PepsiCo shot back yesterday, saying its policy on the ingredient is sound and the video distorts the truth.

22 December 2014: Big buyers and producers ratchet up pledges, RAN pushes traceability

Unilever, Cargill push to green their palm oil chain; Facing growing concerns about deforestation in Asia, companies are pledging to use green palm oil; But as more sustainable oil reached the market and the technology for tracing commodities improved, Unilever, Cargill and Nestlé among strengthened their pledges in the past two years to use only green palm oil... They were joined this year by more than 20 consumer goods companies—including Kellogg, Mars, Procter & Gamble  PG   and Johnson & Johnson  —which adopted zero deforestation policies. And in September at the U.N. climate summit, more than 30 companies including McDonald’s  MCD  and Wal-Mart Stores   committed to eliminate deforestation from their supply chain by no later than 2020.... It was part of a larger pledge at the summit by governments to half deforestation by 2020 and strive to end it by 2030. If fulfilled, the measure would eliminate between 4.5 million and 8.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year by 2030—the equivalent to removing carbon emissions produced by one billion cars.... Along with the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge, five producers this summer joined Cargill in signing the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto. The companies have signed onto a no-deforestation pledge and the establishment of a system to create a “traceable and transparent supply chain.” The companies, most of them based in Malaysia, also agreed to a moratorium on converting the most environmentally important high carbon stock forests until a study can be done to determine where those stocks are located......... Two investigations—one released in September by a coalition of environmental groups called Eyes on the Forest and another by Rainforest Action Network—illustrate the challenge ahead. The Eyes on the Forest investigation found scores of palm oil producers in Indonesia who have signed sustainability commitments caught sourcing oil palm from illegal plantations. Illegal produced palm oil from forests favored by endangered Sumatran tigers ended up in facilities of four producers as well as at ports these producers use to ship their products.... The RAN investigation implicated 40 palm oil growers operating in an Indonesia conservation area that his home to endangered orangutans as well as Sumatran tigers, rhinos and elephants. One major crude palm oil mill was caught sourcing from these growers and three large traders also sourced from them... “At the moment, there is no traceability at the plantation level in the global palm oil supply chain,” said Gemma Tillack, RAN’s agribusiness campaign director.

29 November 2014: Unilever and Cargill updates

Unilever to Use Only Sustainable Palm Oil in European Foods by End of Year
Company Pledges to Use Only Traceable, Sustainable Palm Oil World-Wide by 2020

Cargill Publishes First Palm Oil Progress; Cargill today released its first progress report on sustainable palm oil. The report lays out the company’s action plan to achieve a fully sustainable supply chain. "Sustainability has long been part of our palm ...

3 November 2014: National buyer platforms

Norwegian Food Industry Commits to Sourcing Only Certified Sustainable Palm Oil by 2015, RSPO News, 03 October 2014; "The Norwegian Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil has agreed criteria to promote sustainable palm oil in Norway and contribute to the prevention of deforestation. The Alliance, which consists of most major food & drink producers and retailers in Norway, has committed to using only sustainably produced and certified palm oil that meets the RSPO Principles & Criteria, by the end of 2015. As of today, the signatories include: Coop Norge AS, Findus Norge AS, Hennig-Olsen Is AS, Ica Norge AS, Mills DA, Mondelēz Norge AS, Nestlé Norge AS, Nordic Choice Hotels AS, NorgesGruppen ASA, Orkla ASA, Umoe Restaurants AS, Unilever Norge AS...They also commit that by 2018 they will either phase out palm oil or switch to segregated or traceable CSPO, and publish their progress reports annually. Norway is the eighth European country to officially launch a National Initiative, a commitment by the main industrial actors to source only certified sustainable palm oil. Similar national platforms already exist in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark...."

2 November 2014: Bunge goes with traceability and signals Sarawak / high risk zone shift?

Bunge updates its palm oil sourcing policy in October 2014 for traceability. This can be differentiated from RSPO certification which was the key program As buyers face issues in implementing their near term pledges (often set for next year, 2015) for sustainable palm oil, there are shifts to extend deadlines and perhaps the more common new trend is to shift from sustainability (certification) to traceability.

The latter is now frequently associated with the TFT (Greenpeace associated) programs for customized (by supplier) trade terms for B2B dealings. In contrast, RSPO certification (part of WWF's roundtables / "market transformation" program) uses a multi-stakeholder model and its heavy NGO influence is commonly thought to have contributed to policy escalations that trouble supply-chain players with rising cost of compliance amidst a seeming glut of certificates, and perhaps more crucially the problem of it achieving inclusivity of small producers and smallholders. Hence, the competition for new programs for the palm oil sector, by other NGOs.

On NGO reactions to Bunge's move, the UCS campaign gives it a good nod (it is "impressed" and says this "will have huge implications for peatlands"), as does Forest Heroes ("it gives a clear signal to rogue actors in the palm oil industry"). Forest Heroes' Glenn Hurowitz is widely reported to have had a key role in negotiation Bunge's new policy (he says that Bunge's move is akin to a new "green revolution" to delink agriculture from deforestation). 

However the timeline for implementation has not been set. "We are currently in the process of developing an implementation plan in collaboration with suppliers and expect to release it in the coming months," a Bunge spokesperson told UCS concern is likewise on the deadline and says "while it rightly prioritizes tracing palm oil from high risk areas, it does not require that all palm oil be eventually traced back to the original plantation."

UCS notes that "Bunge’s commitment is particularly important because they source much of their palm oil from Sarawak, Malaysia, a peat-rich area" and it is reports that Bunge is among the biggest buyers from Sarawak.

We're not sure yet if this represents a sign-on with The Forest Trust, a key provider of traceability programs for Wilmar, GAR and Cargill. A check today on its blog ( and its website ( yields no recent news on Bunge.

The key Bunge document is here: Excerpt:

.....Bunge immediately commits to begin building a traceable supply chain, following the principles
below, for 100 percent of the palm oil and palm derivatives it trades, processes and utilizes in
commercial and consumer products worldwide:

Forest & Biodiversity Preservation: Protection of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas as defined by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) P&C 5.2 and 7.3 and High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests as defined by the HCS Steering Group

Reduction of GHG Emissions
  •      Protection of peat areas, regardless of depth1
  •  Application of RSPO best management practices for peat on existing plantations
  •  No burning
Labor Protections, Human Rights and Free, Prior & Informed Consent (FPIC)2
  •  Prohibition of forced and child labor, discrimination and harassment of workers
  •  Protection of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
  •  Respect of local and indigenous community rights and application of FPIC for land purchases and use
  •  Support of the Food and Agriculture Organization Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure
Legal Compliance
  •  Compliance with all relevant national and local laws
Bunge will strive for traceability to the mill level for all suppliers and, in areas of high environmental or social sensitivity, to the fresh fruit bunch level.
News links:

25 September 2014: Look out for pace of signings RSPO versus/and TFT.

And on this, notable that a new report by Forest Heroes places all TFT mega processor trader partner pledges at top of "greenest" suppliers list (TFT-Climate Advisers work with Wilmar, commonly reported as controlling half the global palm oil trade), alongside the solid niche producer already supplying full segregated and other certified oil: The website says: Our Green Tigers report ranks palm oil companies on their adherence to forest conservation requirements -- showing which companies are slated to prosper in the new era of forest protection, and which are lagging far behind. We ranked 18 of the world's largest palm oil companies, judging them on forest protection, high carbon stock protection, peat protection, and their human rights records. The website focuses on an advocacy and a professional "grassroots advocacy and communications firm Catapult helps guide the campaign and deliver our message where it can have the biggest impact." Contacts include Glenn Hurowitz, Forest Heroes Campaign Chair / Managing Director of Climate Advisers (advisor to Wilmar alongside TFT in its 5 December 2013 commitment). Link to report: Forest Heroes has useful list of "media hits" which covers a lot of US palm oil campaigning news:

Report rates palm oil companies on sustainability commitments by; October 05, 2014; "A new report published Forest Heroes, an advocacy campaign pushing for an end to deforestation, ranks global palm oil companies on their sustainability commitments.
The Green Tigers, authored by Glen Hurowitz, reviews the recent history of environmental policies in the palm oil sector.... The report notes that most of the companies that are signees to the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto (SPOM), a commitment established this year, are on the yellow or red lists, while Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) companies are on the green list. Environmentalists have criticized SPOM as having weaker criteria than POIG, although several SPOM members just committed to a one-year moratorium on clearing of potential high carbon stock areas while they work out a definition of what constitutes forest...."

Major alliances

Cargill Joins Palm-Oil Makers to Pledge Forest Protection  By Mark Drajem  Sep 23, 2014 11:30 PM GMT+0800; "Cargill Inc. joined the world’s largest makers of palm oil in a pledge to prevent deforestation and vowed to work with Indonesia, the biggest global producer, to implement policies that will protect forests. Cargill announced its action today at the United Nations summit on climate change with more than 20 producers that account for about half of all palm-oil consumption. Consumers have been pressing the makers of products such as candy and cookies using palm oil to stop clearing forests to plant new palms.... Unilever has pledged forestry protection as part of its sourcing of palm oil, the world’s most-consumed vegetable oil, used by Kellogg Co. (K) to make Pop-Tarts, Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ) to produce Oreo cookies and Mars Inc. (MMC) to make Twix candy bars.... As part of today’s forestry pledges, Norway, the U.K., Germany and others pledged $1 billion to persuade developing countries such as Liberia and Peru to preserve their forests.

Cargill and TFT join hands to advance sustainable palm oil,  September 2014:

Buyer policies

TFT sign up. Hershey Co. strengthens palm oil policy By TIM STUHLDREHER | Business Writer, Wednesday, September 24, 2014 12:15 pm; "The Hershey Co. said Wednesday it is taking measures to ensure that the palm oil it uses is not linked to deforestation or labor and human rights abuses.
....Back in 2011, Hershey joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and pledged to source all its palm oil from RSPO-certified suppliers by 2015. In December, Hershey said it had met that goal, more than a year ahead of schedule. Earlier this month, Hershey announced an expansion of Learn to Grow, a component of its cocoa sustainability initiative...."; and Hershey policy here:

Hershey 'goes beyond RSPO' by Oliver Nieburg, Food Navigator US, 25 Sep 2014; "... we will go beyond RSPO-certified palm oil and achieve a truly responsible and sustainable palm oil supply chain...  the policy drawn up with (TFT)....Greenpeace previously accused Hershey... (responded positively but said) ".. it lacks the requirement of third party verification, and the necessary deadline for full compliance..." ... The Union of Concerned Scientists... added "Hershey can still improve its policy by committing to tracing all its palm oil to the plantation where it was grown"....

Krispy goes with RSPO and Dunkin with TFT. Time to make the donuts less evil - Dunkin’ Donuts cleans up its palm-oil act (and Krispy Kreme follows suit) By Nathanael Johnson 16 Sep 2014 3:16 PM; (details at bottom of posting for Krispy Kreme and Dunkin is here: 

But criticism here: New Dunkin’ Brands Palm Oil Commitment Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Science Group Says Statement by the Union of Concerned Scientists' Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative. WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sep. 16, 2014) -- Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, announced new commitments for sourcing deforestation-free palm oil, but is only applying them to U.S. operations, which would cover only half its stores, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

ConAgra adopts greener palm oil policy 08/14/2014) U.S. food giant ConAgra has adopted a new sourcing policy that will exclude palm oil produced at the expense of rainforests and peatlands.

Eliminating palm oil from Golden North ice cream not enough to secure Adelaide Zoo deal; Thu 7 Aug 2014, 8:46am; "South Australian ice cream maker Golden North is upset Zoos SA has ditched it in favour of a deal with a multinational, despite the local company avoiding use of palm oil in its foods. Golden North marketing manager Trevor Pomery says the SA company ... Zoos SA chief executive Elaine Bensted conceded Streets ice creams contained palm oil but said other factors led to the deal. "It does have a financial benefit to the zoo and I won't shy away from that, and it is a significant component," she said. "We're a not-for-profit charity, we have a responsibility to our members and that membership responsibility does include financial sustainability. By 2020 all of the palm oil that they buy globally will come from certified sources...."

Will other Asian consumer giants follow as Kao goes forest-friendly? Greenpeace challenges Asian consumer companies such as India’s Godrej and ITC and China’s Liby and Nice to make similar commitments as the Japanese beauty products maker commits to forest-friendly policy;

Johnson & Johnson commits to zero deforestation for palm oil, 1 May 2014;; J&J will work with The Forest Trust (TFT), an NGO that helps companies implement zero deforestation and zero conflict commitments for various commodities. TFT has recently signed similar commitments with Nestle, Indonesian palm oil giant Golden-Agri Resources, Neste Oil, Ferrero, Reckitt Benckiser, Asia Pulp & Paper, Wilmar, New Britain Palm Oil, Cerelia, Vandemoortele, Mars; Florin, and Delhaize Group, among others.

MPONGOC calls on Malaysian banks, GLCs to commit to sustainable palm oil; The Borneo Post  - 14 April 2014; KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian banks and government-mandated institutions that invest in growth sectors must commit to play a role in improving social and environmental standards in the palm oil industry. The Malaysian Palm Oil NGO Coalition (MPONGOC) ...; specialists say that in the past Malaysia NGO campaigning on palm oil issues has seen BORA Executive Director Datuk Dr John Payne play a key role. MPONGOC has been seen on-and-off in headlines the last few months and it's well reported in news who are the key leaders.

Wal-Mart Attempts the Holy Grail: Low-Cost Organic Food; April 10, 2014;; In one fell swoop, the super-retailer gets credit for being green, dives into a rapidly growing category, and creates a fantastic ideological conundrum for the anti-Walmart faction. Impressive.... Whatever global consciousness may be at work here, it’s true that organic groceries have some of the healthiest financials in the business. Safeway (SWY) recently said sales of its Open Nature brand surged 42 percent in 2013. Costco (COST) has been crowing about its trade in select organic products, such as milk and kale. “It’s a big business; it’s growing fast,” Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer, said on a recent conference call.
Of course both Wal-Mart and Target can use their scale to squeeze great deals out of farmers and suppliers—probably better deals than smaller grocery players, such as Fairway (FWM) and Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM), or even Safeway, can get......

Cargill commits to zero deforestation, but environmentalists have questions;;
(04/09/2014) After years of criticism from environmental groups, Cargill says it will establish policies to eliminate deforestation, peatlands conversion, and social conflict from its palm oil supply chain. But activists aren't yet sure what to make of the agribusiness giant's pledge. On Tuesday Cargill released a letter it sent to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a body that sets eco-certification standards, in response to a Greenpeace Report linking it to deforestation.
Procter & Gamble think they can ignore deforestation - here's how we turn up the pressure; Greenpeace UK (blog); The companies you buy palm oil from are cutting down huge areas of rainforest - Greenpeace has photographic evidence from palm oil companies;

Procter & Gamble bows to pressure on palm oil deforestation; The Guardian,  9 April 2014;; Procter & Gamble has bowed to pressure from environmentalists and revealed a new, extensive no-deforestation policy in the production of its products, including demanding fully traceable palm oil from suppliers. In the wake of severe criticism by a ...

Indian food giant to source deforestation-free palm oil;;; Orkla, a Nordic conglomerate that owns MTR Foods, one of India's major food companies, has established a zero deforestation policy for the palm oil it sources, reports Greenpeace... Orkla's policy commits it to full traceability and bars palm oil produced via forest and peatlands conversion by 2017. There are also provisions for workers rights and local communities.

General Mills ramps up palm oil pledge to consider deforestation; 25 March 2014;; The cereal and snack titan said that while it was a, “relatively minor user of palm oil”, it remained committed to sourcing 100% of its palm oil responsibly and sustainably by 2015 - a pledge it first made in 2010. General Mills said it would continue ...

 Colgate-Palmolive Latest Company to Jump on Deforestation-Free Palm Oil ...; Union of Concerned Scientists  - ‎Mar 24, 2014‎;; BERKELEY, Calif. (March 24, 2014) - Just days after General Mills committed to sourcing deforestation-free palm oil, Colgate-Palmolive today released its palm oil sourcing policy. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), major companies ...

Supply chain certification news

27 August: In Switzerland, Clariant announced Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Mass Balance supply chain certification for its plant in Gendorf, Germany, in order to meet the increasing demand for sustainable certified palm-based ingredients from customers in the personal care and home care sectors. Gendorf is the first of Clariant’s plants to be RSPO certified and progresses its target to continuously increase the offer of certified palm based products and to have all relevant production sites certified by 2016.

Details of a recent RSPO plus commitment

Krispy Kreme September 2014: - Do you use sustainable palm oil? "Krispy Kreme’s responsible palm oil sourcing efforts began in January 2014 with a commitment to only source products for its US locations from suppliers who are certified members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and those who can guarantee compliance with all sustainable palm oil production methods as defined in the RSPO guidelines. Additionally, Krispy Kreme has purchased enough GreenPalm certificates to cover 100% of its estimated usage of palm oil in the United States through the end of 2014.... Krispy Kreme is now expanding its commitment to achieve 100% responsible sourcing of palm oil. By the end of 2016, a large percentage, if not all of the brand’s palm oil usage will be sourced through some combination of RSPO certified segregated supply, RSPO mass balance mixed-source supply, and the purchase of GreenPalm certificates.... Krispy Kreme is expanding its commitment to achieve 100% responsible sourcing of palm oil. By the end of 2016, a large percentage, if not all of the brand’s palm oil usage will be sourced through some combination of RSPO certified segregated supply, RSPO mass balance mixed-source supply, and the purchase of GreenPalm certificates. All of the brand’s suppliers will be required to trace their palm oil sourcing to plantations that adhere to the principles for protecting forests (including High Carbon Stock (HCS)[1] and High Conservation Value (HCV) landscapes), peat lands of any depth, and no exploitation of communities and workers (including respecting human and worker rights and obtaining Free, Prior, and Informed Consent from communities for all development on their lands); and to comply with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principles and criteria. Krispy Kreme will work with its suppliers to meet these commitments as rapidly as possible, with a deadline for full compliance by the end of 2016. Suppliers who are found not in compliance will be required to submit a viable action plan for closing any identified gaps, or risk removal from the brand’s supply chain.... Krispy Kreme will provide a detailed implementation plan and progress reports on its responsible palm oil sourcing efforts through its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives."

RSPO news: Leaving Bali? Investigative report features anti-corruption issue

28 Nov. Bali. I had no plan to join RSPO Roundtable this year for several reasons. I was in touch with palm industry friends there. Others had flights cancelled and did not make it there.  Earlier this evening, I started to hear some teams plan evacuating tomorrow/ Wed and Thurs. Now, I am hearing some more teams leaving/left. Is the  pace is picking up on evacuation? The land to ferry to Surabaya seems choice of most.

11-12 Oct 2017: Investigative report features anti-corruption cum FPIC issue

Editor's note: Sustainability issues heighten with new investigative reporting in "The palm oil fiefdom." It features anti-corruption cum FPIC issues in environmental and social compliance. Experts tell us that RSPO has been picking up complaints without a formal submission (by another party), as its approach has evolved. Sustainability watchers note with disappointment that this affects the new set of 'jurisdictional approaches' as the strong allegations in this report may spoil its reputation at an early stage:"Yes, it looks like a mockery now." Some also ask if this will be a litmus test for the RSPO. Some Jakarta observers tell us that this is part of the "cyber war" and  the implication within Indonesia is "nothing". It is notable that the cases mentioned seem to date back well over a decade. However, things can change (E.g., corporate corruption in South Korea, and the sudden no-go of sexual harassment in Hollywood), but we don't know when.
[First published 11 Oct 10pm, added comments from expert sources, 12 Oct, 10.50am]

The palm oil fiefdom - A politician in Borneo turned his district into a sea of oil palm. Did it benefit the people who elected him, or the members of his family? BY THE GECKO PROJECT AND MONGABAY ON 10 OCTOBER 2017

WWF's latest Scorecard report has found poor transparency from Singapore and Malaysia palm oil users. The campaign on more local users of palm oil is ramping up. See petition below. 

Scorecard by company here,  Two out of three brands in Singapore and Malaysia not transparent about palm oil use, 21 September 2017


20 Sep 2017: ISPO-UNDP, MSPO-India, WALHI complaints on RSPO/ISPO Indonesia-CEPA. Data-sets are coming for NDPE and more.

Editor's note: The fight for market recognition is ongoing. ISPO seeks UNDP support and MSPO is in the India sustainable palm oil framework. Country authorities are active as stakeholders in drafting new frameworks. Amidst this push for time-consuming efforts for RSPO/ISPO/MSPO, NGOs also decry their limitations. There are also post-RSPO/MSPO/ISPO trade approaches, and these emphasise "no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation". The next stage of this evolution will have countries and companies producing proper data-sets to demonstrate all these items - some country-data efforts are led by a couple of Latin America origins while core producers lag for various reasons. Company-led initiatives will prove an interesting horse race. Specialists are disappointed with jurisdiction/landscape efforts so far, but the results of Sabah's LiDAR is keenly awaited. Other market trade strategies include G2G deals or efforts such as palm-for-jets, palm-for-satellites for Indonesia-Russia, Indonesia-France and others.

Indonesia seeks UNDP support for ISPO palm oil standard, The Jakarta Post, New York, United States | Wed, September 6, 2017 

India's National Palm Oil Sustainability Framework (IPOS), BusinessWire India, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, Sep 15, 2017

Walhi Requests Issue on Palm Oil to be Omitted from Indonesia-EU CEPA Negotiation 15 September 2017 "The implementation of RSPO or ISPO is a fake solution in the palm oil sector because it does not change the structure of land tenure that is still dominated by corporations.The government should develop an economic justice map for oil palm and small-scale farmers and reduce land tenure by corporations through accelerated reform program agrarian, "Yuyun said....

11 May 2017: RSPO freezes Goodhope’s operations in Papua

RSPO freezes Goodhope’s operations in Papua 4 May, 2017 -  Indonesia: Following a detailed joint submission by FPP, Pusaka, Greenpeace and EIA last month, the Complaints Panel of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has issued a Stop Work Order to Goodhope Asia Holdings Ltd.

RSPO Sends Ultimatum to Goodhope Press release - May 5, 2017 Greenpeace Indonesia Statement

RSPO freezes palm oil company’s operations in Papua 7 May 2017 / Alice Cuddy - A stern action from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which has not always enforced its standards for sustainable production of the commodity. -- The RSPO ordered Goodhope Asia Holdings to stop work in seven of its concessions in Indonesia, citing "poor quality" audits commissioned by the company to ensure it follows RSPO rules. High Conservation Value assessments for all seven of the concessions were conducted by a team of Bogor Agricultural University lecturers led by Nyoto Santoso. The assessments are being treated as suspect by the RSPO. While Goodhope opposes the measures, they have been lauded by environmental NGOs as a positive step.

2-3 May 2017: Rumours

Editor's note: Rumours of a temporary walk out or stop at RSPO. Could this be to do with the P&C revision process? Update is that the members of a caucus/working group at RSPO may have to temporarily step away if their organisation/ company is under public campaign pressure. If so, there are many in that position?

28 Mar 2017: A new Rainforest Action Network report

Nestlé "very concerned" over deforestation links to Wilmar palm oil By Louis Gore-Langton, 27-Mar-2017 Nestlé says it is "very concerned" by allegations that its palm oil supplier Wilmar International has again been implicated in sourcing palm oil from the protected Leuser ecosystem in Indonesia, according to a report by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

Rainforest Action Network report here:

18 Mar 2017: Non-RSPO efforts (Indonesia mandatory, fire-free scheme), "proofs of sustainability" problem, questions on transparency, recent news on biodiversity concerns

Editor's note: Indonesia's policy and enforcement upgrades move its mandatory stance and will benefit leaders in non-certification traceability and points to gaps (especially on legality) in certification schemes and add to challenges for its volume outlook, please refer to our posting here: But, the "proofs of sustainability" question (i.e. double-selling or worse) rises as schemes proliferate

Fire Free Alliance Welcomes Malaysian Palm Oil Giants - Muhamad Al Azhari | March 16, 2017 -- The Fire Free Alliance, a voluntary multi-stakeholder platform to aid in the resolution of land and forest fires in Indonesia, has welcomed aboard Malaysian corporations Sime Darby and IOI Group, thus further extending the reach of their program across Indonesia and Malaysia.

Growth in deforestation commitments hides transparency issues By David Burrows, 17-Mar-2017 -- The number of manufacturers using one of the four key commodities linked to deforestation has increased from 67% to 71%, but a worrying number of targets have been missed or forgotten, according to a new report.

Paichit – the baby elephant saved from a palm oil plantation in Indonesia - Orphaned at a few months old and nursed back to health by a local wildlife centre, Paichit’s story has serious implications for critically endangered Sumatran elephants - Kate Lamb in Indonesia,  16 March 2017

An impact analysis of RSPO certification on Borneo forest cover and orangutan populations

19 Feb 2017: Kapuas orangutan killing-feasting, Greenpeace gathers 228k Malaysia signature on forest fires funding (vs. HSBC) campaign

Three named suspects for feasting on orangutan in Kapuas | Sat, February 18, 2017 -- Kapuas Police chief Sr. Comr. Jukiman Situmorang said on Friday that after 10 people had been taken in for questioning on Tuesday, investigators had decided to name three plantation workers, identified by their initials AY, 30, EMS, 39 and ER, 23, suspects. The case is believed to have occurred at an oil palm concession owned by PT Susantri Permai,... in Tumbang Puroh village, on Jan. 28. The incident reportedly began when a worker was harvesting fruit before encountering and being chased by an agitated orangutan. The worker later told the story to AY who then went out to hunt down the animal, where he purportedly killed it with an air rifle and machete. The animal was then taken by AY and his two colleagues EMS and ER to a nearby camp to be dined on...

Indonesian orangutan brutally killed and eaten by AFP Sonny TUMBELAKA

Wilmar grabbed indigenous lands in Sumatra, RSPO finds 16 February 2017 / Rachel Diaz-Bastin - The leader of the Kapa community said he hoped the palm oil giant would ‘quickly restore our right to the lands that it took without our consent.’

NGOs Slam IndoAgri Over Labor Rights Abuses and Poor Sustainability Policies

Malaysian customers urge HSBC to stop funding forest fires in Indonesia 14th February 2017 -- Dissatisfied Malaysian customers on Tuesday presented HSBC with a mock cheque with 228,434 signatures urging the bank to "Stop Funding Forest Fires in Indonesia." ..."We are asking customers to join this movement to urge HSBC to stop funding deforestation. In the past five years alone, HSBC has been part of banking syndicates that arranged $16.3 billion of loans to six companies whose palm oil operations have destroyed vast areas of rainforest, peatland, and orangutan habitats in Indonesia," said Octyanto Bagus Indra Kusuma, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner....Last year, the IUCN changed the classification of the Bornean orangutan from endangered to critically endangered, citing destruction, degradation, and fragmentation of their habitats, including conversion to plantations, as a main reason for the decline in population

10 Feb 2017: RSPO rules on community complaint against Wilmar unit 

RSPO concludes Wilmar violated indigenous rights  February 09, 2017 -- The indigenous community, who live in West Sumatra, Indonesia, filed the formal complaint against Wilmar in October 2014. The complaint said Wilmar had taken over part of their customary lands and established an oil palm plantation without the community’s consent, Forest People’s Programme reported....The RSPO ruled that Wilmar had violated its sustainability standard, and had not met the requirements of Indonesian law. Wilmar must now take steps to respect the Kapa’s land rights.

RSPO rules on community complaint against Wilmar unit - In a milestone ruling, RSPO has said that a Wilmar-owned company violated the land rights of the indigenous Kapa community in West Sumatra. By Vaidehi Shah 8 February 2017 -- In a decision announced on February 1, the industry association for sustainable palm oil said that Wilmar-owned PT Permata Hijau Pasaman I (PT PHP1) had not followed the proper legal process for obtaining land from the indigenous Kapa community and beginning to plant oil palm on it.... In the complaint against Wilmar, filed more than two years ago, the Kapa people and FPP raised an alarm about PT PHP1’s application for a land cultivation certificate—known as a Hak Guna Usaha or HGU—for the right to develop plantations in the community’s customary lands.... Rather than asking PT PHP1 to terminate its operations, the Kapa community asked to negotiate an alternative tenure agreement which did not require them to hand over land management rights to the company, while still allowing them to develop oil palm—a request that was not met.... RSPO responded in March 2015 with a preliminary decision that it was satisfied that PT PHP1 had complied with the law in its HGU application, and added that the indigenous communities should resolve the land boundary conflicts with the government.... This claim was contested by the Kapa community leader, Gampo Alam, who was then jailed for two months in May 2015 on charges that he had misappropriated community funds. This sparked an outcry from FPP, which claimed that Wilmar was behind the arrests, and was using its clout to intimidate and threaten Alam. Wilmar quickly rejected these allegations, arguing that Alam had been arrested based on a police report filed by his relative, which accused him of misappropriating funds from a smallholder group scheme in the community.... In light of the assessor’s recently announced findings, Alam noted that “for the Kapa, our customary land cannot be sold as it is our identity.” “We hope that Wilmar International will now honour the ruling of the RSPO, and will quickly restore our right to the lands that it took without our consent,” he added.

Documenting the consequences of palm oil production beyond Southeast Asia 6 February 2017 /  -- Oil palm plantations are rapidly mushrooming throughout the tropics. A new film, Appetite for Destruction: The Palm Oil Diaries, looks at some of the consequences of that expansion. This is an interview with the film's director, Michael Dorgan.

25 Jan 2017: RSPO 2016 credits unusual price behaviour. Wilmar expects NO DISRUPTION of its RSPO business as it works on labour issues alleged in Amnesty International report

Editor's note: Looking at Greenpalm prices 12-13 days ago, unusual prices behaviour was evident, perhaps also on the market missing Felda certificate supply. Wilmar expects its RSPO business to be unaffected by Amnesty International's allegations against it (and it will retain certification status for the two mills supply bases in featured). Fortunately, it was clear in data cited by in the Amnesty International report that Wilmar had alredy been working on some labour issues, E.g., it had already reduced its casual labour ratio from the 60% territory to 20% in 2010-2012. Many big plantations are looking to a 20% ceiling for casual labour, but some say they can go to almost zero. Plantations have to demonstrate labour improvements including for fair wage system and treatment of migrant workers, freedom of association and more.

Looking at RSPO Greenpalm / B&C credits market:

The latest 2016 premia information:

My question: Earlier this month, Jan 2017 price for 2016 CSPO certs is off the Greenpalm chart that tops out at $5. Market summary for the said $5.50. Could it average over $5 for this month? I think the last time we saw CSPO B&C / credits above $5 was Feb 2011. The market is obviously moving unusually with the switch from GreenPalm to RSPO's new platform.

Reply from Bob Norman at Greenpalm: Hi Yu Leng, the compare like for like I've shown the certificate year with the average price traded in the January of the following year. You can see a steady decline in value over the years. Different supply/demand dynamics have been evident during 2016 - this perhaps is latest manifestation. It will be an interesting close to the 2016 market.
Cert Year Month Ave Price
2012 Jan-13 $2.29
2013 Jan-14 $1.44
2014 Jan-15 $0.60
2015 Jan-16 $0.42

2016 Jan-17 $5.48 (currently)

Wilmar's announcement:

WIL-Sustainability Dashboard Enquiry - Progress Updates in Addressing the Grievances Raised Against Us in the Amnesty International Report 23/01/2017: The external review of labour practices in both of these estates was also completed by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) on 15 December 2016. The assessment methodology involved visual observations, interviews, focus group discussions and documentation reviews. More than 100 Wilmar employees, almost all of whom are non-management workers, were interviewed by BSR. The preliminary findings have been submitted to Wilmar and have also been uploaded into our sustainability dashboard (here). BSR is scheduled to submit the full report by end January 2017 and it will also be made available on our grievance dashboard in February 2017...., our proposal for solutions will also need to be jointly agreed by our unions before it can be adopted across our operations. We remain committed to continue with this process until we are able to address all the issues highlighted....Engagement within the RSPO and the RSPO certification process.... We have been transparent and cooperative with the RSPO and the certification bodies in question with regard to PT Milano and PT DLI which are both RSPO-certified. We do not expect any further implication on our RSPO certifications or membership outside of the regular certification process. Both PT Milano and PT DLI will be assessed again as part of our ongoing RSPO certification in 2017.....
Note: 22575/38173 or 59% temporary workers ratio in 2010 to 7821/36218 or 22% in 2012 

11 Jan 2017: RSPO 2016 sales volume drops 10%? Full volume for 2016 only known after end March 2017

Editor's note: I am looking at RSPO Impacts - Last Update 31 December 2016. RSPO 2016 sales figures shows a first time drop. Sales 5.6 million for 2016 vs 6.2 million for 2015 - this is down, -10% to end December, but the full volume for 2016 will only known after end March 2017, as there is trading allowed for another three months of the next year.

5 Jan 2017: RSPO Sabah jurisdictional approach faces forest deals issue

Editor's note: 2H2016 there was market chatter on more Sabah forest deals, and now this write-up talks about an October 100k ha deal.

 Sudden sale may doom carbon-rich rainforest in Borneo 2 January 2017 / John C. Cannon - Home to critical watersheds and orangutans, a 101,000-hectare forest located in the Trus Madi Reserve was on track to serve as a blueprint for a conservation economy, before the rights to log it were sold in October.....Before that, FMU5, part of the Trus Madi Forest Reserve in central Sabah, looked like an ideal proving ground for alternatives to one of Sabah’s historical economic lynchpins, the timber industry. Ong and her colleagues at Forever Sabah, a broad-based initiative to move the state towards a circular economy that includes LEAP, thought that the old-style logging and plantation models would be a short-sighted use of the unique area....In response to the diminished timber stocks from traditionally managed forests, most of the companies that hold forest management unit concessions in Sabah signed on to work with Forever Sabah and the Sabah Forestry Department to
explore new alternatives in 2015.....  Ong said

Related issues in Sabah:

Warisan challenges Sabah CM on forest cleared for oil palm by FMT Reporters | April 4, 2017 -- “In short, NBT was given a contract known as the FMU2 with the purpose to re-plant forests.” But Wong now claims that the land has been misused to plant oil palm and that he has documentary proof of this.

20 Dec 2016: NGOs Call Out 26 Palm Oil Companies for Illegal Operations in Riau 

Editor's note: Allegations in EOF report include several mills (total capacity of 285 tons/hour, perhaps producing 230,000 tonnes CPO per year) associated with estates said to be without HGU status.

NGOs Call Out 26 Palm Oil Companies for Illegal Operations in Riau - A number of palm oil plantations in Riau province have allegedly received under the table permits, according to a report by a coalition of environmental NGOs dubbed ... EoF. By : Ratri M. Siniwi | on 6:30 PM December 10, 2016 -- Earlier in 2014, the Forestry Ministry had converted 1.6 million hectares of forest areas into non-forest areas under a ministerial decree, but 26 companies have been found to be operating under the wrong type of license within the converted area as they are missing cultivation permits (HGU) and forest-estate release permits. “We urge the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK] to investigate the land swap scandals of a forest area covering more than 1.6 million hectares,” Woro Supartinah, coordinator for Jikalahari NGO which is a member of EoF, said in a statement on Thursday (08/12)....“These plantations are not paying taxes, and do not have a tax identification number [NPWP]. We could lose up about Rp 170 trillion [$12.7 billion] in state losses,” Riko Kurniawan, WALHI executive director said on Friday.

Press Release 09 Dec 2016 Maraknya kebun sawit ilegal jadi pintu masuk pemberantasan korupsi yang tuntas di Riau

12 Dec 2016: WWF criticism of MSC Indian Ocean tuna certification has implications for RSPO assurance? 

Certification all at sea? 8 Dec 2016 -- The leaking of a WWF report critical of MSC highlights that such schemes need to be very careful how and what they certify.... Serious questions have been raised about the credibility of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) seafood sustainability scheme. A leaked report alleges “troubling, systemic flaws” in MSC certification, and accuses the MSC of certifying tuna from the Indian Ocean, even though “no Indian Ocean tuna fisheries should meet the MSC Fisheries Standard” because of the lack of even the most basic sustainability checks. The report was prepared by WWF, a founding partner of MSC, and seems to indicate that WWF is deeply unhappy with what its creation has become. The report says MSC ignored stakeholders in awarding certification to Indian Ocean tuna while listening to sustainability assessors who “repeatedly disregarded facts” and were prepared to approve certification for unsustainable fishing. When objections were raised, MSC relaxed the sustainability standards “despite WWF’s ardent resistance,” according to the report. ........Since the leaking of the report in late November, MSC and WWF have closed ranks to some extent. Both emphasised that the report is an internal document. WWF says that “elements of the paper are part of an ongoing dialogue that we are having with the MSC to drive positive change”, and that it continues to support MSC........ the MSC/WWF case could in principle be a test case for the ISEAL Alliance, the organisation of sustainability certification schemes that has created codes of practice intended to demonstrate that certification standards are rigorous. The ISEAL Alliance says it has a formal complaints mechanism in place but has so far received no complaint about MSC. But even if the ISEAL Alliance did investigate, it would be looking into one of its own....

WWF RETROSPECTIVE ON INDIAN OCEAN TUNA HARVEST CONTROLRULES:  -- ... From this retrospective, WWF concludes that the MSC scheme was not an accurate means for assessing the sustainability of IO tuna fisheries. Although in some cases WWF may be able to use MSC as a tool to effect change on the water, it is doubtful that the MSC scheme will provide stakeholders with a consistent and transparent mechanism for delivering the kind of change that is envisioned by WWF for IO tuna fisheries management. Furthermore, WWF’s experience with  MSC in the IO has revealed some troubling systematic flaws with the MSC scheme which undermines WWF’s confidence about the generality of MSC as a lever for improving the fisheries sustainability. Such concerns are only exacerbated by the aggressive efforts by MSC to penetrate the tuna industry with their certification scheme in accordance with the stated objectives of
MSC’s integrated strategic plan..... The experiences described in this account should inform WWF’s strategy on how to engage with the MSC scheme going forward. These lessons were learned through five years of intensive WWF activity, engagement and resources use and it is clear that this type of heavy engagement with the MSC eco-labelling system offers poor ‘value for money’ for conservation impact... This work is a ‘retrospective’ document. It is a case study. Scope covers WWF’s engagement as a stakeholder in MSC assessments of tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean, with particular emphasis on how Harvest Control Rules (HCRs) were assessed. ... the relevant timeframe for this retrospective extends from at least 2009 up until the present – more than 6 years.

2 Dec 2016: Joint-Statement on Closure of the Ketapang Complaint - IOI RSPO case

Malaysia's IOI Corp to give up some land in deforestation settlement Dec 2, 2016 --  IOI Group said it will abandon some 430 hectares (1,060 acres) of land in Indonesia in part settlement of a dispute over allegations of illegal deforestation and planting. It will continue to cultivate the rest of the land under dispute - about 11,000 hectares - but would not market the palm oil produced as having sustainability certification for a period of about 30 years, the company said in a joint statement with Amsterdam-based green group Aidenvironment....In 2015, Aidenvironment filed a complaint to the RSPO against IOI Group over claims that the planter had illegally chopped down rainforests in Indonesia and planted palm crops on peatland. Aidenvironment said in the statement issued on Thursday that it had raised all other matters with IOI for perusal and had no further standing issues with plantation company....

Joint-Statement on Closure of the Ketapang Complaint  Dec 01, 2016 -- Settling past non-compliance: Although IOI will certify PT BNS and SKS under the RSPO time-bound plan, IOI undertakes not to market the palm oil produced from PT BNS and the affected areas of PT SKS with the RSPO certification claims for the duration of one planting cycle... 

1 Dec 2016: RSPO response to Amnesty International's report

Editor's note: Some readers from the plantation sector are not so happy with RSPO's blanket admission response on systemic problems in labour. There is also chatter about formal complaints arising from the rising tide of labour reports, but within two weeks of the Amnesty International report, there have yet to be any formal complain in the RSPO system (note four months between RAN et al. report and formal complaint at RSPO in 2015#)

#11 October 2016 - Secretariat received a formal complaint from RAN on labour violation issues against PT PP London Sumatra and its parent company PT Salim Ivomas Pratama Tbk and 9 June 2016 -  Secretariat received an information on the report published by OPPUK, RAN & ILRF, and informed the company on the matter. 

Amnesty report fallout: Another blow for RSPO? By Niamh Michail+ 30-Nov-2016 -- Amnesty International’s report is another dent in the reputation of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as three of the suppliers on Wilmar's operations were RSPO-certi䈪ed. It has been a challenging year for RSPO....It’s a question of scale, according to RSPO’s CEO Darrel Webber.... “The absolute number of complaints against RSPO members is bound to increase, as the number of hectares covered by certi䈪cation increases,” he told FoodNavigator this morning. “We are glad to see that in the past years, the RSPO has received [fewer] complaints and has been better at resolving active cases. “RSPO is a system, and just like most systems, it falls short from perfection. This said, what the uptake of the RSPO scheme proves is that perfect alternatives are not available, and the RSPO remains the best available option to make concrete steps away from business as usual.”


The RSPO fully acknowledges the existence of serious problems in the protection of workers and human rights in the global intensive agriculture sector, including the oil palm sector. These problems are exacerbated when linked to poverty, weak law enforcement and the presence of legislative gaps - as underlined by Amnesty itself - contributing to the challenge of making agriculture and specifically the oil palm sector truly sustainable.... The report covers a series of labour and human right abuses affecting palm oil workers in two Wilmar subsidiaries, PT Perkebunan Milano and PT Daya Labuhan Indah, and three Wilmar suppliers, Sarana Prima Multi Niaga (SPMN), PT Abdi Budi Mulia (ABM) and PT Hamparan Masawit Bangun Persada (PT Hamparan). The report makes reference to employment practices that are not only non-compliant with the RSPO requirements but are also illegal. This publication  will encourage RSPO stakeholders to focus their efforts in eradicating labour practices that are not compliant with the RSPO requirements....

8-10 Nov plus RSPO news releases to end November: RSPO RT14 Bangkok. Big news on Marrakech Declaration by Africa palm producers (RSPO is not enough). RSPO GA resolution results. News from RSPO including RSPO STATEMENT ON DISCLOSURE OF RSPO MEMBERS’ CONCESSION MAPS

29 Sep 2016: Greenpeace report and blockade at Rotterdam - it's not just about own supply as focus turns to third party suppliers to mill and refinery

Editor's note: From own supply focus and RSPO Next pledges for own supply, the attention is shifting strongly to third party supply to mill and refinery.

What does Greenpeace's palm oil report mean for IOI & RSPO? By Niamh Michail+, 28-Sep-2016

Greenpeace's damning report on Malaysian palm oil supplier IOI, just one month after its membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was renewed, could be damaging for the certifier, according to one sustainability consultant.

(IOI's third party suppliers - Eagle High, Goodhope, TH Plantations and Korindo are alleged not to comply)

Greenpeace report that accompanies the Rotterdam port blockade of IOI refinery and a facility dedicated to Indonesia palm oil imports...

26 Sep 2016: RAN critiques WWF Scorecard

Naming and Shaming Palm-Oil Buyers to Stop Rainforest Burning - Indonesian farmers burn ancient rainforest to expand plantations. By Bruce Einhorn  --  -- Groups like Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists have taken to naming and shaming companies that they say aren't doing enough to make suppliers stop the destruction of rainforests and peatlands. On Sept. 21, WWF released its 2016 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, looking at the policies of 137 companies worldwide. The good news, according to WWF, "at least half of the companies we looked at" have made "gratifying progress" toward using sustainable palm oil that meets criteria such as a ban on the destruction of primary forests....

RAN: WWF’s Palm Oil Scorecard Rewards Companies With Links to Child Labor and Forest Destruction posted by GEMMA TILLACK,

UCSUSA palm oil scorecard 2015:

21 Sep 2016: Greenpeace campaign continues

Greenpeace Malaysia September 19 at 5:30pm · Don’t let palm oil giants like IOI get away with it! Join our global petition to #StoptheHaze >> #IOIcommitNow

15 August 2016: Buyers still leery of IOI

Palm oil buyers hold off mending ties with IOI Corp 15 August 2016 -- Food companies Nestle, Kellogg, Mars Inc and Hersheys, along with healthcare product makers Johnson & Johnson and Reckitt Benckiser told Reuters they had no immediate plans to return to business with IOI despite the latest step by RSPO. Procter and Gamble told Reuters it had ended its relationship with IOI, while Unilever said it was looking into the watchdog's decision.  "(We will not change our approach until) we see IOI's upgraded policies enacted, with improvements verified on the ground by an independent group of experts," Nestle said in an emailed statement....

8, 10 August 2016: IOI is back to RSPO! NGO reactions.

Destructive palm oil company IOI let off the hook too easily by RSPO - Blogpost by Annisa Rahmawati - 10 August, 2016.....However, many of IOI's ex-customers have said they will only start buying again once it has shown it can radically improve its approach to protecting forests and peatlands. A sensible decision, because until IOI proves it's serious about ending its role in deforestation and peatland drainage, resuming business with this toxic company will be a decidedly risky business.....

RSPO lifts suspension of Malaysian palm oil giant IOI -- Green groups condemned the "premature" action by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. 2016-08-05 -- NGOs have complained about IOI's operations in Indonesia for years. In April, the RSPO suspended the company's sustainable certification. On Friday, the RSPO lifted the suspension after IOI submitted an action plan to address the latest complaint. Green groups said the RSPO should have kept the suspension in place until IOI could demonstrate progress on the ground. It remains unclear whether consumer goods giants like Unilever and Proctor & Gamble, which moved to cut supplies from IOI in the wake of the suspension, will look to resume purchases from the company.....

RAN: RSPO Puts Credibility on the Line by Lifting IOI Suspension August 05, 2016 -- Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network (RAN) issued the following statement:  "The decision to lift the suspension on IOI places the credibility of the entire RSPO certification system in doubt. The RSPO has once again risked its legitimacy by settling for half measures and has shown it is willing to certify companies that are operating in open breach of its own standards. "This move shows that despite the RSPO's efforts to strengthen its complaints procedure and adopt stronger standards via its flawed RSPO Next voluntary scheme, the body still falls short of the policy requirements of countless companies that have adopted robust no deforestation, no peatland, no exploitation policies.  Over two dozen companies have cut their ties with IOI Group following its suspension by the RSPO. These global brands and traders must continue to act independently to ensure that IOI addresses the violations of its sourcing policies prior to reconsidering the controversial company as a supplier."

Sime Darby Clarifies Position In Liberia’s Rain Forests Report Fri, 08/05/2016 - 02:17 tjohnson -- Maintains moratorium on logging activities since 2014. Sime Darby Plantation (SDPL) says it is not involved in logging or the extraction of timber that a recent report says is putting Liberia in danger. A release issued yesterday said regarding clearing of land for the cultivation of oil palm, Sime Darby Plantation has had a moratorium on any clearing of land since September 2014. The moratorium has allowed the company to study the need for the conservation of high carbon stock forests, an effort “we are undertaking with several stakeholders, including groups of growers, NGOs and scientists under the umbrella of the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach.” Prior to September 2014, Sime Darby Plantation said it also had strict policies and guidelines on the preservation and protection of High Carbon Value (HCV) areas, including Environment & Biodiversity Policy and Slope & River Protection Policy. The release said Sime Darby Plantation has observed both these policies for all new land development activities in Liberia. “Today, new land development is still put on hold as the HCS Approach pilot is currently being conducted in SDPL’s concession area,” the release said....

5 August 2016: IOI is back to RSPO!

Editor's note: Defying expectations for a six-months plus time out for IOI, the good news for the supply chain is that IOI is back! "Satisfy complainant" basis with IOI bouncing back fast. Also look out for other activist reactions. 

RSPO Board of Governors has endorsed the recommendation made by the Complaints Panel (CP) to lift the suspension of RSPO certification for the entire IOI Group....The lifting of the suspension of the RSPO certificates will be effective from 8th August 2016.....

Joint-Statement on Progress Regarding the Ketapang Complaint

29 July 2016: TFT view on IPOP failure, are NGOs better off working outside the RSPO?

Failure of Indonesia’s palm oil commitment ‘not bad news’ [commentary] 27 July 2016 / Commentary by Scott Poynton Scott Poynton is the founder of The Forest Trust (TFT), an international non-profit that works with corporations to address environmental challenges. In this editorial, Poynton says there is “no time for NGO Handwringing: IPOP was a distraction. Its demise is not bad news”. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.

Study concludes conservation NGOs might be better off working outside the RSPO 26 July 2016 / Mike Gaworecki Conservation non-governmental organizations, palm oil producers, and other players in the industry have all promoted the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s efforts, but a new study published in the journal Conservation and Society looks at how effective NGOs’ participation in the RSPO scheme truly is.

Palm Oil: The worldwide movement to make it sustainable Posted about 10 hours ago -- You have probably heard a lot about palm oil and the movement across the world to make its production sustainable. It is considered a major environmental issue because as an ingredient palm oil is used in a lot of supermarket products, but cultivating the plants it's extracted from has historically led to major deforestation and displacement problems.

Sustainable Palm Oil in Australia:

25 July 2016: Situating smallholders at the fore - need to transfer the rewards upstream in the value chains 

Situating smallholders at the fore - Empowering smallholders is essential for economic development – and to protect forests  Deanna Ramsay  19 Jul 2016 --  But the fact is that now companies are making commitments to source supply that is clean, that is deforestation free. And I think that’s one of the main issues that they’re struggling with is how to build these clean sources of supply that involve smallholders. But that is going to imply for them to build some kind of agreements with these groups of smallholders that are supplying these companies. So that’s the big issue. Because the majority of smallholders are independent smallholders, like in the oil palm sector in Indonesia.....I think what is needed is business models that are able to share those costs – share the cost, share the risks and share the benefits. Because in most of the cases you have business models that then transfer the costs to the producers that are upstream in the supply chains. So they are the ones who pay for the cost. In an ideal situation, the companies also should be able – if they are targeting deforestation free in markets – they should be able if there is some reward to transfer the rewards upstream in the value chains.... So the smallholders can also benefit or receive some compensation on the costs that they are investing in improving the production systems. But that is still an open question, and we don’t know if that’s going to work in that way....

Cargill latest to drop IOI Corp as palm oil supplier after RSPO suspension By Supriya Surendran /   | July 19, 2016

Affin Hwang lowers IOI Corp earnings forecast 22 July 2016 - o recap, IOI submitted a status update of its quarterly progress report on June 27 and is now awaiting an official reply from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Complaint Panel on its application to lift the certification suspension.  “The decline in market capitalisation since March seems disproportionate to the potential financial impact. A positive outcome on its application hence is expected to result in a share price rebound, in our view,” it said.

Worst may be over for Sime Darby’s, but upturn yet to be seen  July 16, 2016 -- As for Sime’s plantations business, it noted that Sime is leading in sustainability compliance and it believed risk of non-compliance is low. “As at end-2015, 100 per cent of its Malaysian upstream and downstream business units, and 96 per cent of its Indonesian upstream and 77 per cent of downstream business units are RSPO-certified. “All of NBPOL’s upstream operations (including all smallholders) and its downstream unit In Liverpool are also RSPO-certified. SIME now supplies approximately 20 per cent of the global CSPO market. “In plantation development, the group complies strictly with RSPO Principles & Criteria (RSPO P&C); Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) processes; and Social & Environmental Impact Assessments (SEIA) standards. Development in High Conservation Value (HCV) areas is avoided and a Zero Burning Policy has been implemented since 1985,” it explained.

GAR Podcast: The challenges of achieving traceability, access to markets and sustainability targets for smallholders farmers -- Ian Welsh from Innovation Forum talks to Anita Neville, Vice President, Corporate Communications and External Affairs at GAR about the challenges of achieving traceability, access to markets and sustainability targets for smallholders farmers. Listen to the podcast here.

Can palm oil be sustainable?  July 21, 2016 Source: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Summary: A new study shows to where and to what extent palm oil plantations could be expanded, while avoiding further deforestation in pristine and carbon-rich tropical forests.

11 July 2016: KLK benefits from IOI's RSPO suspension, do scorecards work? RSPO auditors are back.

Following on the RSPO auditor sanctions period in early 2016, things are easing with PT SGS Indonesia accredited since 5 July 2016 and Control Union (Malaysia) SDN. BHD.  and PT Mutuagung Lestari  back on since 26 June.

KLK benefits from IOI Corp’s RSPO suspension, sees rise in CSPO sale  July 8, 2016, Friday KUCHING: Analysts believe planter Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) stands to gain from competitor IOI Corporation Bhd’s (IOI) Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) suspension. RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd (RHB Research) noted that KLK managed to do some forward sales in the first quarter (1Q), albeit not a significant amount of 25 to 30 per cent of 1Q’s output. “However, it is currently benefitting from the sale of more certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) products as a result of IOI Corp’s suspension from the RSPO,” it said in a note earlier this week. “Currently, close to 50 per cent of its products – from 30 per cent previously – are sold with a CSPO premium. Read more:

IPOP disbands: A step backwards for sustainable palm oil in Indonesia? By Niamh Michail+, 05-Jul-2016 After less than two years in existence, the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge has disbanded to the dismay of environmentalists who say its member companies were bullied by the Indonesian government into adopting weaker standards.

Do NGO scorecards that 'name and fame' or 'name and shame' actually work? By Niamh Michail+, 04-Jul-2016 WWF's Soy Scorecard or Oxfam's Behind the Brands are high profile - but do such reports really trigger a race to the top or are they too simplistic to be of any use?

7 July 2016: Oil palm and HCV corridors with few results? WWF launches new Singapore alliance on sustainable palm oil. Bunge demands more details from IOI.

Bunge joins ranks of palm oil users to sanction Malaysia’s IOI 7 July 2016 -- In March, IOI lost its sustainability certification from the world's largest association for ethical palm oil production over allegations of environmental destruction in its Indonesian operations.  Since then, a number of IOI's customers have moved to disengage with the supplier.  Among Bunge's demands is for IOI to issue a more detailed sourcing policy.

IOI damage raises questions about RSPO standards By David Burrows, 10-Jun-2016 The damage caused by IOI’s deforestation and peatland drainage is “far greater” than that detailed in the complaint that led to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil suspending the supplier back in April, says Greenpeace.

Scientific American. Can Oil Palm Plantations and Orangutans Coexist? To forestall such a public relations disaster, industry-leading oil palm companies have tried a series of conservation initiatives to show that orangutans and plantations can co-exist--hence the RSPO, the HCV enclaves and the relocation of orphaned apes to rehabilitation centers for later reintroduction back to the forest. The latest scheme is to interlink isolated HCV patches with migration "corridors" so that orangutans and other forest-dwelling creatures can disperse in accordance with their natural behaviors.....Compounding matters, the RSPO and its ilk are agonizingly slow at investigating complaints, and their findings are no more than advisory, with no ...To implement such measures (and garner some third-party credibility), many companies have partnered with environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs). But results have so far been elusive. Part of the problem is a general lack of data. But companies can also ignore or skimp on the NGO recommendations. Compounding matters, the RSPO and its ilk are agonizingly slow at investigating complaints, and their findings are no more than advisory, with no force of law. Moreover, Indonesian licensing laws can undermine conservation by reallocating forest leases of companies that do not exploit their allotted tracts fully or quickly enough. And with RSPO covering barely a fifth of the world’s palm oil operators, there is always a queue of wildcat planters ready to take up rescinded leases.

WWF launches new Singapore alliance on sustainable palm oil - Consumers are “masters” of the supply chain and the alliance aims to signal clearly to consumers which companies are truly committed to sustainability.
WWF Singapore has launched an alliance of organisations committed to promote the uptake of sustainably-produced palm oil. Image: WWF-Singapore/Xcalibrephoto By Jessica Cheam 29 June 2016

25 June 2016: Cargill sets IOI a July 16 deadline, Solidaridad to work with MSPO, RSPO members accused of regularly flouting community land rights

Cargill steps up pressure on palm oil trader JUNE 23, 2016 by: Emiko Terazono Cargill, the leading agricultural trader, has given Malaysian palm oil producer and trader IOI until July 15 to produce a responsible sourcing policy following allegations of unsustainable practices in Indonesia among its subsidiaries.

Palm oil shows need for socially aware research by Kaz Janowski is editor at SciDev.Net. -- Robert Guimaraes Vásquez, a leader of the Shipibo-Conibo indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon, who made an emotional statement calling European consumers to realise they are “drinking our blood” when they consume products derived from palm oil.   Vásquez said deforestation research is based on satellite data, but this is far removed from a real understanding of how deforestation and palm oil plantations affect people on the ground.  ... His lament was that governments currently rely on data from palm oil companies to decide which parts of a forest to give to which firms, but this data is tinged with bias....  

MPOB signs MoU with NGO to enhance adoption of sustainable standard  17 June 2016 -- The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Solidaridad Network Asia Ltd have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance the effective implementation and adoption of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standard.

Activists from Indonesia, Liberia, Colombia and Peru to EU tells of palm Horror June 24, 2016 -- A delegation of indigenous people from Indonesia, Liberia, Colombia and Peru did a tour of European capitals last month to give policymakers and investors first-hand testimony of what they said were escalating human rights and environmental abuses linked to the rapid spread of palm oil cultivation. The delegation, which visited the Netherlands, Germany, Brussels and London during the 10-day tour, said that members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) frequently flout the voluntary group’s requirement to respect community land rights, and are involved in human rights abuses and destructive plantation development. At a press conference in London, Tom Griffiths of UK NGO Forest Peoples Programme, which sponsored the tour, said while the RSPO is beginning to crack down on malpractice by its members, it has a long way to go before all RSPO members’ palm oil is conflict-free. “The key message of the mission is that these [palm oil] operations should be suspended until land rights are secured and proper protections are in place,” he said....

23 June 2016: RSPO to toughen audits, FGV video on commitment to RSPO

Under scrutiny: Palm oil watchdog to toughen sustainability audits - Reuters News 23-Jun-2016 -- .... The RSPO - a body of consumers, green groups and plantation firms that aims to promote the use of sustainable palm oil products - now plans to make the certification process more transparent and allow reassessments of initial audits to ensure standards are being met, said Paul Wolvekamp, the head of an internal task force reviewing RSPO's auditing process. The task force was formed late last year after a scathing report from UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)that said auditors hired by plantations were conducting "woefully substandard assessments" and in some cases colluding with growers to disguise violations of the RSPO standard. It has called for the RSPO to address loopholes in the audit process. "One component is to increase transparency and to give access to parties who are concerned to detect weaknesses," Wolvekamp, also a member of the RSPO board of governors, told Reuters. He added that a public register with details of the auditors' performance will be worked on.....A key part of the audit reform will be a move to empower Accreditation Services International (ASI), an independent group that monitors auditors, to conduct a rigorous surveillance and reassess findings of the initial audit, Wolvekamp said.... ASI, which is headquartered in Germany, will also create a platform for third parties to submit any complaints against the auditors and improve training for the auditors with a focus on tackling labour issues. RSPO is also looking for ways to address conflicts of interest between growers and auditors, he said. Currently, plantation firms directly hire auditors to assess their compliance with the RSPO standards, a method critics say could force auditors to give a verdict their clients want. To avoid this, the EIA has recommended that RSPO members pay into an escrow account that is held by the RSPO and then the watchdog selects and pays auditors directly.....

FGV komited terhadap kemampanan operasi by FGV

social media comment: Felda CEO...making his full commitment to RSPO public. And some extent...why they've taken one step back.

20 June 2016: Confectionery accounts for 1% of food with sustainable palm oil label, Grenpeace -  IOI’s deforestation and peatland drainage is “far greater” than that detailed in the complaint, EU Aims For 100% CSPO By 2020, Availability of RSPO CSOI drops by 18.5%

Confectionery accounts for 1% of food with sustainable palm oil label By Douglas Yu+, 14-Jun-2016 Confectionery products account for 1% of total packaged food that carries a sustainable palm oil label, according to new ethical labels data from Euromonitor--; Confectionery News quoted Euromonitor as saying that confectionery products accounted for just 1% of total packaged food that carried sustainable palm oil labels. Total sales of packaged food products carrying sustainable palm oil labels amounted to US$220.4mil in 2015. These are expected to increase to US$239.9mil by 2020. Of the seven key food categories, breakfast cereals accounted for 40% of US$92.1mil of sales while only US$2.5mil worth of confectionery products carried sustainable palm oil labels. 

IOI damage raises questions about RSPO standards By David Burrows, 10-Jun-2016 The damage caused by IOI’s deforestation and peatland drainage is “far greater” than that detailed in the complaint that led to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil suspending the supplier back in April, says Greenpeace.

EU Aims For 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil By 2020 Jun 15 2016 --

L’Oréal first Palm Oil Progress report highlights positive steps June 16, 2016by  Louise Prance Miles -- L’Oréal has released its first Palm Oil Progress report, which looks at the company’s ongoing progress in achieving its aim of 100 percent responsible sourcing of palm oil and palm oil derivatives.

Availability of RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm Oil drops by 18.5% 15th June 2016 -- The combined result of Felda’s decision to voluntarily withdraw its own RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certification, and IOI’s certification suspension by the RSPO, will be to reduce the global supply of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) by 2.5 million tonnes – 18.5% of the total. This is likely to be good news for those with CSPO to sell, including those with GreenPalm certificates. However, buyers would be well advised to consider their on-going requirements and act quickly to secure the CSPO or certificates they need, before supply is squeezed further.

14 June 2016: Report calls on review of implementation of "living wage" and other RSPO labour policies, IOI suspension-boycott issues (adds RSPO Milan commentary and Greenpeace release)

Palm Oil's Human Cost Alleged in New Report - Indonesian plantations are accused of exploitative labor conditions and other harmful practices by a coalition of nonprofit groups. By Laurel Neme PUBLISHED JUNE 8, 2016

Cargill and Bunge refuse to cut ties with palm oil trader by Emiko Terazono June 12, 2016 -- The decision to continue trading with IOI Group is in marked contrast to large consumer groups, including Unilever, Nestlé, Kellogg and Mars, as well as traders Archer Daniels Midland and Louis Dreyfus Company, which have ceased trading with the Malaysian group after its sustainability certificates were suspended in March....
Note: feedback from a reader on this graphic is that it is "wildly inaccurate" as it misses out many key players

Damning Report Reveals Palm Oil’s Human Cost - Two certified “sustainable” Indonesian plantations, both linked to PepsiCo, allegedly exploited workers and turned a blind eye to child labor.  06/09/2016

Unclear if France will revisit ‘discriminatory’ palm oil tax 6 June 2016 / Loren Bell -- The proposed tax became a controversy in Indonesia and Malaysia, the two largest palm oil producers, which lobbied hard to get it rescinded. France consumes less than two-tenths of a percent of the palm oil produced globally, most of which goes to India and China. Palm oil is crucial to the Southeast Asian nations' economies but leads the way in damaging the environment.

PanEco resigns from RSPO over ‘sheer level of inaction’ 3 June 2016 / Philip Jacobson  A key NGO member loses faith in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

10 June 2016: RSPO European Conference, 9 June 2016 - review of tweets (adds on reader and other comments)

Editor's note: Selected excerpts from,, accessed noon 10 June 2016. I went as far back as 31 May 2016. There's only slight edit to clean up the hashtags unless pertinent. Notably, no tweets on IOI Group and Felda/FGV suspensions. However, there was a press release by Greenpeace to coincide with this on the IOI case.

From reader who was at the Milan conference, downstream perspective: "There's high awareness of the subject of palm oil with strong supporting and opposing camps in Europe. And some recognition that market pull alone is not enough.... RSPO is trying to involve governments more but it is early days, some of which may lead to legislation. This is from panel discussions."

Wild Asia writes: "Wild Asia used the opportunity at RSPO EU (June 2016) to share its ideas and approaches for small producers. Whilst I am glad for the attention, I am a bit worried that we are being misled to believe that the problem lies with the small holders (the very small micro farmers). The reality is that the smaller producers (SMEs, independent estate owners and this middle-level producers) are where the largest risks in palm lie today (labour, safety, expansions)." 

From another reader who was at Milan: The issue for RSPO Next was whether buyers would be allowed to join this scheme if they were not fully buying physical traceable oil i.e. whether GreenPalm Book & Claim credits would be included. Clearly, buyers want all options to be counted, but suppliers do not.

RSPO news and views

  • Stakeholders hear the latest from RSPO NEXT team 
  • Retailers clarify role in RSPO NEXT 
  • Opening remarks from Stefano - Great to see Italy is now part of RSPO global movement to promote certified sustainable palm oil
  • Paolo de Castro keynote begins by welcoming ambitious goal of converting all palm oil production into sustainable palm oil - Member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture & Rural Development 
  • Good news: awareness of palm oil in Italy is increasing (graphic above, blue columns)
  • Italian Union for Sustainable Palm Oil has signed the Declaration "100% Sustainable Palm Oil Supply Chain in Europe by 2020” 
  • 'Our members are committed to using only certified sustainable palm oil by 2016' says Giuseppe Allocca
  • Fact: Palm oil is most productive oil seed crop of the world by factor of 4 to 10. More on how we make it sustainable at #EURT2016.
  • DYK becoming RSPO certified helps smallholder farms produce more palm oil, using less land.
  • DYK there are 800 different definitions of forest? Follow #EURT2016 to hear more from our panel members as we discuss CSPO
  • Q to Panel: Are RSPO standards good enough? Generally pos responses & note RSPO NEXT sets good new targets.  
  • By supporting initiatives such as Guardian Sust Biz debate, RSPO is helping to increase awareness of palm oil in Europe
  • Big step forward to see the trend in the concern generated by news about palm oil is now decreasing
  • Feisty discussion on whether RSPO is doing enough on Climate Change. 1st panel.
  • Forest Peoples PROG says RSPO has challenges but positive action being taken …. More on palm oil debate at #EURT2016
  • RSPO RT14 is Bangkok, 8-10 November 2016.

#GoodBadPalmOil social media 
screenshot of images going in social media

  • @RSPOtweets launched a new campaign.Please share #GoodBadPalmOil and ask your followers to say YES! to good palm oil 
  • There's a big difference between good & bad palm oil … @simplyselma_ #GoodBadPalmOil
  • What are your cookies made of? Say Yes to Responsible + Sustainable Palm Oil #GoodBadPalmOil 
  • How can farmers harvest more oil & use less land? Find out from @BSDHotDeal  #GoodBadPalmOil
  • Share this video and say YES to GOOD Palm Oil #GoodBadPalmOil #rspo #palmoil  

Global Forest Watch upgrades on oversight

  • Global Forest Watch - WRI-Proforest palm oil risk rating, with a tagline "companies can now spot deforestation in their palm oil supply chains before it happens"
  • Globalforestwatch working with RSPO to help monitor fires – RSPO cert areas are performing better than non-certified areas. 
  • Anne Rosenbarger, World Resources 'Thrilled to see commitments to No Deforestation becoming the norm' 
  • Citigroup uses Global Forest Watch to monitor client compliance with no deforestation requirements. RSPO; convening solutions 
  • Citi contributing to system of accountability by working with Global Forests to establish client plantations in GFW system 

Market and buyer news

  • Significant progress achieved in Europe on uptake of sustainable palm oil but more needs to be done says paolodecastro 
  • 'In Europe demand for palm oil increased significantly since 2006. Switch over in demand between food & non-food'
  • Update on National Commitments for 100% CSPO 
  •  Guide for Overseas Investment and Production of Sustainable Palm Oil by Chinese Enterprises
  • Seeing growth of palm oil in margarine, esp in Poland - analysis of data ensures RSPO can become more targeted says Daniell Morley
  • Qs frm floor: How can RSPO leverage @COP21 to increase uptake in CSPO
  • UK food & personal care consumption looking better but still a way to go before 2020 targets are hit 
  • Home and personal care low. How can we work together to increase CSPO in this market?
  • "We expect productivity & access to market for smallholders" on long term - Nsirine, L'Oreal
  • L'Oreal committed on the direct sourcing of certified products from smallholders 
  • Clariant - L'Oreal present joint SPOTS initiative for sustainable palm oil 
  • Informal Roundtable discussions between UK retail & Chinese delegation 
  • RSPO is delighted to announce first CSPO product in India 
  • Ferrero, maker of Nutella, uses 100% sustainable palm oil since 2014, enforces no planting on high carbon stock forests and peats 
  • Strong statements from Laurent Cremona Ferrero 'We cannot wait for growers to take the lead on sustainable development' 
  • Great to see Ferrero's commitment to real No Deforestation through the High Carbon Stock Approach and POIG.
  • Cremona, Ferrero: brands have to drive responsible chains and lead industry transformation. Traceability to plantation is key.
  • Ferrero: consumers more and more want products according to their values. The way to go is industry consensus (and data).
  • Consumers expect brands to do homework on sustainability to have clean supply chains says Nutella Ferrero 
  • Karin Kreider from ISEALalliance  says govt role models are critical in supporting implementation of sustainability standards 
  • John Buchanan Conservation Org - "Important that policy measures in Europe also focus on improving palm oil production"
  • Norway & Switzerland interested in Amsterdam Declaration for 100% sustainable palm oil 
  • Exciting to hear about new Trademark app, which will help to find RSPO trademark products.
  • Governments should recognise the contribution of the RSPO to SDG 15 and assist by increasing import taxes for non-cert oil 

Supplier news and issues

  • Gabon committed reduce GHG by 50% & palmoil growers cld do more 2 support producer government climate change commitments
  • Christopher Stewart, Olam says "Positive outcomes for biodiversity, social & carbon can be achieved through RSPO tools"
  • Tulip Diaz of Agropalma SA "Good behaviour gives companies a competitive advantage"
  • "Certification is expensive for us find that perfect dream where it is easier" - Jose Maria Madrid, smallholder from Honduras
  • "You cant isolate palm issues from the real social issues", Reza Azmi ED & Founder, Wild Asia - Smallholders: Up Close & Personal 
  • Discussion on HCSA/HCS+. Greater clearity needed.
  • Smallholders need degraded forest to plant - don't make arbitrary carbon thresholds.
  • Interactive session at #EURT2016 on developing stepwise improvement system for independent smallholders.
  • We’re looking at palm oil social accountability. We’ll be exploring human rights plus lessons learnt from our complaints panel.
  • RSPO members embarking on new planting must take into account FPIC - wise to allow 2 years to complete FPIC procedures adequately.
  • Henry Barlow, Chair of RSPO Complaints Panel discussing breakdown of complaints cases
  • Guide for Traders: To take part in the RSPO supplychain you need to acquire a trader licence
  • More detail on 4 “types” of RSPO certification - single site, multisite, group & micro users certification
  • Training session forrefiners to learn about the new functionality in RSPO eTrace
  • Dr Cecile Bessou: PalmGHG is based on LCA & captures >95% GHG emissions along the supply chain up to oils

IOI’s Indonesian forest fire legacy revealed at European palm oil summit, 9 June, 2016 at 3:40 - Jakarta, 9 June 2016 - New analysis reveals the scale of fires in and around the IOI Group’s palm oil concessions in Indonesia. The findings, published today by Greenpeace International, come as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) meets in Milan for its European Summit.

Is that palm oil mill “sustainable”? A new tool can tell 9 June 2016 / Morgan Erickson-Davis  --  Analysts have created a new dataset that predicts the deforestation risk of palm oil processing mills.

9 June 2016: Mill risk rating by WRI-Proforest goes online, IOI pulls away from lawsuit and will do detailed chronology and LUC analysis and start implementing RSPO Next by year end

Editor's note: The online data is really moving up on palm oil. WRI-Proforest now gives risk rating of palm oil mills. This is the expected upgrade for non-certification traceability (lacking of such data) and will provide added info to distinguish even certified mills. This has been expected for some time. Risk rating may influence feedstock pricing over time. Other news is that IOI Group reverses its lawsuit plan and pledges RSPO Next.

New PALM Risk Tool from Global Forest Watch can identify palm oil mills with high historical deforestation and high potential for future deforestation,

2006-2014 tree cover loss is in pink. Mapping and identification of a lot of palm oil mills. I clicked on a few "unknowns" to try out (image above). The blue circles are "50km mill sourcing radius." Image below shows details of a "low risk" mill.

Malaysian palm oil giant IOI drops lawsuit against green group - Former Unilever and Nestlé supplier says it now aims to comply with the RSPO’s highest level of accreditation by the end of the year 7 June 2016

Note: IOI's complainant reports that a joint study of chronology and LUC analysis will start 2H July 2016. This usually points to concerns about the RSPO HCV Compensation Liability.

3 June 2016: IOI ready to drop lawsuit once suspension lifted - completed information submitted to RSPO

IOI ready to settle RSPO issues 3 June 2016.... submitted documents to comply with conditions set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for the lifting of the suspension. CIMB Research expect this case to be deliberated at RSPO’s complaints panel (CP) meeting in June 2016 and the suspension could be lifted if the CP was satisfied with IOI’s submission....“However, should there be queries by the CP on the submissions, the lifting of suspension may be delayed until the next meeting,” CIMB Research said.....IOI Corp has submitted to the RSPO CP a completed action plan, quarterly progress report, together with group sustainable resource allocations and policy initiatives document, endorsed by IOI Corp’s board of directors. It has also completed and submitted to the RSPO the peer review assessment of the three high conservation value (HCV) reports between 2009-2014. It added that there was a possibility that the challenge in Switzerland would be dropped once the suspension is lifted......“We estimate that the suspension may reduce FY6/17 net profit by up to 7% (assuming the group is suspended for a year). Maintain ‘hold’ and sum-of-the-parts (SOTP) target price of RM4.52, as we think the market has priced in suspension concerns at today’s price. Potential upside is higher CPO prices and key risk is prolonged RSPO suspension,” it said.  

30 May 2016: French "non-sustainable" palm oil tax likely? BBC World Service feature.

French palm oil tax, pesticide ban likely to pass this year | Reuters, A proposed French tax targeting palm oil will most likely be approved later this year after a meeting between both parliamentary assemblies on Wednesday failed to agree on a wider biodiversity bill, members of the Senate said.... The National Assembly, dominated by the ruling Socialist party agreed in March on a tax starting at 30 euros ($33.5) a tonne in 2017 that would rise by 20 euros a year to 90 euros in 2020. It excluded oils made in a sustainable way... Senators scrapped the tax in mid-May, saying it could be against international trade rules and it would be more appropriate to include it in finance legislation. Barbara Pompili, Secretary of State for Biodiversity, confirmed in Le Monde newspaper on Wednesday that the government would back a tax with an advantage for sustainable oil, but insisted that producing countries should be supported in their fight against deforestation... French wheat exports to Indonesia have been on hold for weeks with exporters blaming the delay on a retaliation by Indonesia against the palm oil tax plan....

The Price of Palm Oil - Business Daily, Listen in pop-out player, Mon 30 May 2016 15:32 Local time BBC WORLD SERVICE.... Murder and theft, as well as environmental destruction, lurk behind this staple ingredient of supermarket foods and toiletries - as presenter Manuela Saragosa discovers. A Colombian farmer recounts the crimes committed against his own family in order to take control of his land, while Agus Sutomo of the pressure group Forest Peoples Programme explains how palm oil farming goes hand-in-hand with human rights abuses in many parts of the world....

27 May 2016: Mondelēz urges IOI Group not to sue RSPO 

EXCLUSIVE: Mondelēz urges IOI Group not to sue RSPO By David Burrows, 26-May-2016 Mondelēz International has called on palm oil supplier IOI Group to withdraw its legal action against the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Palm oil battle spreads beyond ethical investors - Nestlé, Unilever, Kellogg and Mars cease trading with IOI May 26, 2016 by Emiko Terazono in London and Avantika Chilkoti in Jakarta... High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

Courts, controversy and CSR – the palm oil story By David Burrows, 13-May-2016 There were more twists and turns this week in the controversy surrounding the IOI group, which was suspended by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) last month.

RSPO – it’s hard to live with it BY HANIM ADNAN 14 May 2016

What will it take to make sustainable palm oil the norm? New study examines the factors driving commitments to responsible production of a controversial global commodity.  JACK HEWSON  10 May 2016

12 May 2016: IOI sues RSPO and FGV decertifies 58 mills, map data 

  • IOI sues the RSPO

  • The suspension was seen as an indication the RSPO might finally be getting tough on the oil palm growers that make up the bulk of its membership, as the roundtable has been criticized for failing to enforce its standards. But the lawsuit — as well as a surprising move by palm oil giant Felda Global Ventures to decertify 58 of its mills, and the continued refusal by Malaysian and Indonesian growers to hand over their concession maps — are perhaps signs of a backlash against stricter oversight by the RSPO, whose membership also includes palm oil traders, retailers and banks.
  • Malaysian palm oil companies say their concession maps are state secrets

Earlier commentary pointed out by a reader: Glenn Hurowitz -  RSPO: Completely Worthless, or Just Mostly Worthless? (UPDATED)  03/31/2016 

27 April 2016: RSPO orders company to halt Peru planting

RSPO orders company to halt Peru planting 

25 April 2016: Reactions to President Jokowi's call for Indonesia moratorium on oil palm concessions and Singapore comment to buy certified

Editor's note: On the IOI Group suspension at the RSPO, talk at Invest Malaysia Conference (12-13 April 2016) was that the time-frame for lifting of certificates suspension would be "within three months" 

Review moratorium on oil palm plantations by Edi Suhardi, Vice President of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil April 22 2016.... There are two key factors contributing to the organic decline of new palm oil plantation expansions. The first is its falling price. The most extensive new development took place in the period of 2007 to 2014 when the crude palm oil ( CPO ) prices ranged from US$600 to $1,200.... The second impediment is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s ( RSPO ) stringent standards for its members on developing new plantations. RSPO members from Indonesian palm oil growers control the largest concessions and operations on plantations....The high pace of new plantation development has fallen sharply due to the introduction of strict and stringent RSPO standards preventing plantation development on high carbon stock ( HCS ) areas and high conservation-value ( HCV ) areas and implementation of free, prior and informed consent, which became effective as of 2014......The sustainability standards, which RSPO members have fulfilled, have created an earnest impact to new plantation development in Indonesia toward an environmentally friendly and socially-sensitive commodity. All primary forest and peatland areas over HCS and HCV areas will be left intact.... But there are hundreds of palm oil companies who have yet to abide by such sustainability standards and still aim to develop on HCS or HCV areas.... This is where the government has to act to change the way these companies operate and to enforce such sustainability standards in operations, particularly in new expansions...

To fight haze, step up certification of palm oil firms. commentary. BY TAN YI HAN PUBLISHED: 10:00 PM, APRIL 22, 2016... When Indonesia’s Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya was reported as telling Singapore to “focus on its own role in addressing” the transboundary haze instead of “commenting too much on the part Indonesia is currently playing”, it unsurprisingly led to angry rebuttals by readers in Singapore.... It is time for companies in Singapore that buy palm oil such as food outlets, consumer goods manufacturers and retailers, to start by at least committing to go haze-free. Consumers can then play a part by supporting these responsible companies. We all can play our part to make Singapore haze-free....Tan Yi Han is from PM.Haze (People’s Movement to Stop Haze)

18 April 2016: IOI statement of 17 April


IOI Group is deeply concerned with the impact of the temporary suspension of IOI Group’s RSPO certification on all our stakeholders. In addition to the necessary Action Plans to address the complaint, we have also taken immediate actions to review and enhance our sustainability practices.

A more formalised Sustainability Governance Structure:

  • Sustainability Team
  • Sustainability Steering Committee

Other activities that we are actively pursuing, to ensure we are adhering to our commitment to sustainability:

  • We are identifying all necessary actions to address the complaint relating to our Ketapang development areas, including mitigation and restoration for the affected HCV area in PT BSS.
  • IOI will put measures in place to ensure that our policy commitments with regard to HCS, HCV, FPIC and peat are implemented on the future PT KPAM new development.
  • Appointment of internationally reputable implementation partner and sustainability consultant: IOI is in the process of engaging with Proforest in relation to the PT KPAM development and the verification of IOI’s commitments with regard to HCS, HCV, FPIC and peat
  • We are also in contact with the complainant to work on other topics, which are not part of the complaint. These topics include the development of PT KPAM, and a review of the fire monitoring and mitigation systems that IOI has put in place since last year

For further information, please contact:  Dr Surina Ismail, Group Head of Sustainability

Glenn Hurowitz - RSPO: Completely Worthless, or Just Mostly Worthless? (UPDATED)
1. Over 300 RSPO members...are currently taking [palm oil] products from IOI Loders Croklaan. These products are specialised food ingredients used in thousands of branded goods sold to millions of consumers around the world. 
2. In many cases for these members, IOI Loders Croklaan is a sole supplier; and in some cases the RSPO member is using the RSPO logo on their products.

17 April 2016: Will the jurisdictional approach help? REDD+ experience says surprisingly this was not the case

Local projects shape national REDD+ strategies - To save forests, apply local lessons. by TARA 

LOHAN 13 Apr 2016; ... “One of the advantages of a jurisdictional approach, in theory, is that it houses the purview of environmental stewardship and economic development, along with ostensible mechanisms of accountability, in one place,” said Ravikumar. “You’d expect that proponents from jurisdictional programs would be quite happy with policies from their own jurisdictions.”

Yet surprisingly, Ravikumar said, this was not the case. “Our evidence suggests that the conventional wisdom that jurisdictional approaches make it easier to solve these types of political issues may not be well founded,” he said.

16 April 2016: Eyes on the Forest - companies with zero-deforestation pledges still using illegal palm oil, IOI Group suspension disarray to Europe refineries and sustainability premia

Editor's note: Investigative research by Friends of the Earth - Walhi Riau, Jikalahari and WWF Indonesia allegedly show non-sustainable (illegal) product entering the supply-chain of large processor-traders with (non-certification) traceability efforts. Since Dec 2013, these have been regarded as distracting from RSPO certification efforts (refer to Excerpt - Eyes on the Forest recommends, from its April 2016 report).  While recommendations are to step back into RSPO and step up to high-end RSPO certification, this sector has recently been thrown into disarray by the suspension of the IOI Group (probably the largest supplier of such material). In these early days of the suspension (confirmation of the suspension came late March/early April with serious sanction not to handle nor process certified material), serious impact in the Europe refinery sector and impact on sustainability premia are reported.

Excerpt - Eyes on the Forest recommends:
1) RSPO finalizes its FFB due diligence tool as soon as possible.
2)  RSPO audits compliance of its members and certified clients.
3) CPO mills start disclosing percentages of FFB received from owned plantations, plasma and scheme small-holders, and traders and independent growers.
4) NGOs monitor RSPO members and SCC certified mills and inform RSPO about purchases of illegal and/or non-compliant products.
5) Buyers not waste their resources on “mills to end user” traceability schemes but use that money to buy segregated oil based on RSPO “Identity Preserved (IP)” or “Segregated (SG)” Supply Chain Models as:
          o “Identity Preserved Supply Chain Model” ensures that CSPO from a single identifiable certified source is kept separately from non-certified oil throughout the supply chain.
          o “Segregated Supply Chain Model” ensures that CSPO from different certified sources is kept from non-certified oil throughout the supply chain.

Palm Oil Analytics, 15 April 2016: Traceability problem linked to top palm oil firms - A study by Indonesian NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest (EoF) has identified palm oil sourced from illegal plantation in pro-tected Sumatran forest areas in the supply chain of some of the world’s top palm oil firms, including Wilmar International, Golden Agri-Resources, Royal Golden Eagle and Musim Mas. The study covered five conservation areas in Indonesia, including Tesso Nilo National Park, with fresh fruit bunches or CPO from illicit plantations in these areas appearing in the books of the named firms. This highlights the complexity in tracing sources of palm oil, as various independent mills and smallholders all sell their output to one of more of these firms, which may not have full traceability of product origin. All the named firms have pledged to practice sustainable environmental policies, but have little control or oversight over third-party operators. It is a gap that needs to be addressed and taken seriously, with the potential fallout being severe, as seen in the recent suspension of Malaysia’s IOI by the RSPO.

Companies with zero-deforestation pledges still using illegal palm oil - An investigation by Indonesian activists has shown that palm oil grown on destroyed tiger and elephant habitats is present in the supply chains of industry giants such as Wilmar, Musim Mas, and Golden Agri-Resources. CPO truck EOF By Vaidehi Shah  8 April 2016

Reports on illegal FFB bought in 2012-2015 via investigative research

Indonesian forest fire and haze risk remains high  By Nigel Sizer, Fred Stolle and Susan Minnemeyer  18 July 2013

12 April 2016: Indonesia worries about sustainability "cartel," Sabah starts 3D mapping for RSPO goals, SGS reapplying via SGS Indonesia

Govt looks to disband zero-deforestation pledge - The Jakarta Post 12-Apr-2016 by Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post; ..."The point is that we oppose the IPOP. The Business Competition Supervisory Commission KPPU has issued a letter saying that there are indications of a cartel in the IPOP. We will coordinate with the KPPU first and that letter can be used as a basis for its disbandment," the ministry's plantations director general, Gamal Nasir, told The Jakarta Post.... The Agriculture Ministry has joined with the Environment and Forestry Ministry to attack the IPOP, with the latter officially stating its opposition to the pledge last year. The KPPU letter, issued in October 2015, said the IPOP might lead to cartel-like activities as it could create barriers to entry for palm oil farmers who conduct business with IPOP members. The signatories to the pledge are Asian Agri, Astra Agro Lestari, Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas and Wilmar.... However, IPOP legal team member Ibrahim Senen said the government had to prove that the pledge violated the law. "There's no law that bans people from creating a higher standard," he said. Ibrahim also questioned the legal basis for the IPOP's disbandment because the IPOP was simply a pledge, and not a legal subject in the country. IPOP management team director executive Nurdiana Darus said the pledge did not aim to drive small farmers out of business.

Sabah: 3D mapping to decide on land use  April 6, 2016; A mapping campaign using scientifically advanced technology took off on April 4 this year in Sabah to gather data that will feed into making the best decisions for land use and management of the state’s biodiversity.... Carried out by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), a facility under the Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford University, the high resolution and three dimensional mapping will provide a good understanding of the structure and quality of Sabah’s forests, carbon stocks and biodiversity patterns – and help with conservation and restoration decisions.... The CAO aircraft is scheduled to collect data until early May 2016 as part of a partnership between CAO and the Sabah government through the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD). The partnership was initiated and facilitated by Forever Sabah.... Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan was quoted as saying, the maps derived from this campaign, unlike past experiences where such maps were viewed as “treasure maps”, will be a useful tool for making sound decisions in relation to land-use planning in the State, especially now that the State Government has twomajor 10-year goals.... By 2025, the State is expected to increase its current 24% of Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) to 30%, and to achieve 100% [RSPO] Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) for all palm oil growers in Sabah.... Read more:

SGS Malaysia's RSPO accredition was terminated because SGS Malaysia carried out audits while it was suspended | REDD-Monitor
We have re-applied via another SGS affiliate office i.e. SGS Indonesia and ASI has accepted our application and we are now permitted to conduct audit for the purpose of witnessing by ASI. The result of the witness audit leading to successful or non-successful accreditation will be announced by ASI/RSPO tentatively in May/June 2016.....

30 March 2016: IOI announces its action plan in stock exchange filing

IOI summarised a few of the initiatives in its action plan in the Bursa Announcement, These include:-
 1.Preparation of legal register detailing all Indonesian legislation and regulations 2. Conduct stakeholder engagement with the relevant authorities 3. Preparation and compilation of standard operating procedures and a checklist of compliance of legal and regulatory requirements 4. Conduct internal capacity building for all relevant personnel 5. Provide records of all completed compliance of licences and permits

29 March 2016: Appeal of suspension by IOI Group, key issues by CIMB and AmInvestment 

Editor's note: IOI Group was recommended for suspension by the RSPO Complaints Panel and this was fairly quickly endorsed by the RSPO Board of Governors. The views of the consultant  Aidenvironment who filed letters to the RSPO Complaints Panel is included in the 25 March Mongabay article link below.

RSPO case tracker - 
  • 28 September 2015 RSPO has sent letter on preliminary decision to IOI
  • 10 October 2015 IOI has sent their response on the RSPO preliminary decision.
  • 26 October 2015 Aidenvironment has sent their final response on the RSPO Complaint against IOI Group
  • 14 March 2016 RSPO  has sent letter on final decision to IOI . IOI sent their response to RSPO final decision.
  • 23 March 2016 Aidenvironment sent a letter to RSPO regarding RSPO final decision to IOI.
  • 25 March 2016 RSPO BoG made decision on the case. "We wish to inform that the Board of Governors endorses the recommendation made by the Complaints Panel (CP) to suspend RSPO certification for the entire IOI Group, until such time the CP is satisfied that IOI has met the conditions set out in its letter to IOI dated 14th March 2016. The suspension of certificates will be effective from 1st April 2016..."
  • 28 March 2016 IOI Group and IOI Loders Croklaan sends Appeal of suspension to RSPO.
RSPO Complaints status page:

CIMB - IOI Corp update - RSPO certification suspension from 1 Apr; This is negative as it could affect the group’s ability to earn certified sustainable palm oil premium and dent its image as a sustainable palm oil producer. Preliminary estimates reveal a potential earnings impact of 3.5% for FY6/17. Maintain Reduce due to its rich valuations and concerns over the suspension.    

AmInvestment Bank Research, 25 March 2016: IOI Corporation: Board of Governors’ suspension was based on letter dated 14 March 2016 and not IOI’s action plan, which was submitted a few days ago: .... IOI themselves are unclear on the effective date and scope of the suspension. IOI is currently seeking clarification from RSPO.... We estimate that if IOI is unable to sell its certified oil to the customers in Europe, then the group’s net profit may fall by 5%. IOI would have to find other customers, which would not be concerned over sustainable palm oil. We believe that these include companies in India and China. Europe accounts for 25% of the production capacity of the specialty fats unit while specialty fats accounts for about 42.5% of the manufacturing division’s EBIT. The manufacturing division recorded an EBIT of RM398.1mil in FY15. This implies that Europe may have accounted for about RM40-50mil of the manufacturing unit’s earnings in FY15. This would be about 4.7% to 5.5% of IOI’s core net profit (ex-unrealised forex loss) in FY15. 

Malaysian palm oil giant IOI suspended from RSPO 25th March 2016 / Philip Jacobson - Strict action from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

16 - 17 Mar 2016:  Rumours of suspension to come - knotty issues

Editor's note: 16 Mar - Rumour of suspension meted out on unresolved complaints cases. 17 Mar - Thanks to readers for pointing to source documents dated 14 March 2016. Excerpts below. 

Company writes: We also seek clarity on the scope of the above mentioned suspension and the implications to the company as a whole, including the downstream operations and the CSPO trade, how are our current CSPO stocks affected? or is the suspension only applicable to the certification of new developments?

RSPO writes: The Complaints Panel will recommend to the RSPO Board of Governors that ..... RSPO certification be suspended at least until such time as the above action plan has been submitted and accepted by RSPO, and until the Peer Reviews of the HCV assessments have been performed.

Note: Specialists point out that RSPO certification system clause 4.2.4 is often a major issue, this was revised in more recent P&C document, which may be found here:

15 Mar 2016: SUSPENSION is the word. RSPO Complaints Panel suspends mill pending re-audits

Editor's note: Thanks to readers for pointing out Complaints Panel update and also feedback that auditors need to have SA8000 qualifications in order to be a social auditor for RSPO. The issue of re-audits relates to this news too, 28 Jan 2016: News alert - CB disruptions to RSPO. **The update heard at POC is re-certification (resulting from CB sanctions) now 6 months not 3 months.

7th March 2016 - RSPO Complaints Panel reviewed the independent assessment reports and decided to suspend Pasoh palm oil mill owned by Felda until full clearence is given based on the re-audits:

13 Mar 2016: GreenPalm traces to mill

GreenPalm palm oil goes greener – or does it? By Niamh Michail+, 11-Mar-2016 GreenPalm sustainable palm oil certificates will now offer buyers traceability back to the mill, meaning it is now the only fully inclusive supply chain open to all growers, says the trading platform. But campaigners are still calling it a "false solution" to sustainability.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group Charter, verification indicators, and summary of the public consultation can be reviewed here. 10. MARCH 2016

PALM OIL INNOVATION GROUP ANNOUNCES NEW MEMBERS, LEADS CHANGE FROM PLANTATIONS IN INDONESIA TO SUPERMARKET SHELVES ACROSS THE GLOBE 16. NOVEMBER 2015 ADMIN Leading brands like Ferrero, Danone, Stephenson and Boulder Brands and Indonesian palm oil giant Musim Mas Group, have recently joined innovative growers Agropalma and DAABON, along with international NGOs including Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), to build upon the RSPO standards and commitments.

3 Mar 2016: UK users switching to other competing oils, away from palm oil

Editor's note: In EU food usage, palm oil tonnage has dropped significantly in recent years across major EU countries and in many key food sectors including snack foods.

UK palm oil imports see huge drop By Emile Mehmet 01 March 2016; Palm oil imports by the UK have significantly declined over recent years, due to negative portrayal of the commodity in the media, uncompetitive prices, and a subsequent switch to other competing oils.

2 Mar 2016: Who pays for conservation? Sabah landowners say no to Kinabatangan conservation project.

Editor's note: The issue of rural livelihoods also comes to the fore in the reported problem in Sabah about unwillingness of enough local peoples to contribute their land to a Kinabatangan environmental project - state politicians sound neither keen to pay for the land and nor push for compulsory land acquisition. Big plantations have to implement FPIC for their new plantings - not an easy thing by all accounts. NGOs also seem to also be having a problem in FPIC process for their projects. Interesting mention of compulsory land acquisition (presumably at less than market price). Politicians may neither have the money nor the political will to push aside social FPIC for sake of conservation? Again the question arises: who pays? This will also be a question for how the RSPO-Sabah deal for 100% RSPO certified palm oil will be implemented and paid for.

Feedback from a reader:  One NGO has a RM4 million fund to buy land for a wildlife corridor in Malaysia, but likely has depleted this. They are asking for land free from companies too. There are probably a few such funds. 

Sabah’s ‘Corridor of Life’ hits snag as landowners say no to acquisition BY JULIA CHAN March 1, 2016; Sabah is facing a major stumbling block in its Kinabatangan “Corridor of Life” wildlife conservation project as landowners in the highly cultivable region are unwilling to give up their plots for conservation purposes....  the state was not keen, however, to use the Land Acquisition Act to compel the landowners to give up or sell their land as they do not want to upset any party. “We want them to be partners in conservation but they won’t be good partners if we force them to sell their land. We want it to be as amicable as possible, through friendly persuasion. “The other option is land acquisition but buying land is not cheap and we hope to avoid this. We feel the best situation is when the people feel they have ownership of the programme, so that they are willing to help and want to contribute to the success of the programme.“We are not giving up. Sooner or later, the owners will see the logic in the corridor,” he said....

20 Feb 2016:  Green palm oil sales far from impressive, ISPO and RSPO Can Complement Each Other, no point "shifting problems onto another commodity"

Giving Up Palm Oil Might Actually Be Bad for the Environment - The trouble with the maligned crop isn’t its popularity, but where it’s planted By Joe FasslerSmithsonian Magazine  March 2016; ... On its 2015 sustainable palm oil scorecard, the Union of Concerned Scientists gave high ratings to such companies as Gerber, Kellogg’s, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo, Dunkin’ Donuts and Safeway. Environmental NGOs ultimately hope to see oil palm growers planting on already-deforested land. In the meantime, they warn against boycotting palm oil altogether. “That would mean shifting problems onto another commodity,” says Katie McCoy, the head of forest programs at CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). Moreover, from a health perspective, palm oil is the ideal substitute for partially hydrogenated oils, the “trans fats” that food processors love and health experts hate. ... Read more:

Joint Study Facilitated by UNDP Shows ISPO and RSPO Can Complement Each Other - The United Nations Development Program has facilitated a joint-study between the the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Standard (ISPO) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). By : Tabita Diela February 18, 2016

Despite push for green palm oil, sales far from impressive By Meena Lakshana / The Edge Financial Daily   | February 15, 2016 However, he said, only a small percentage of sustainably produced palm oil enters the retail brand space, while the majority is unbranded, and sold in drums and tubs.... “They (retailers) are not the big-volume users of palm oil. A great example of this is the volume of palm oil used in India,” he said.“Pressure on brands to move from one supply chain to another, for example, from GreenPalm to Mass Balance will also not create organic demand growth. You are simply shifting demand from one supply chain option to another,” he added..... According to the RSPO, the Mass Balance system sees palm oil from certified mills being mixed with conventional palm oil during transport and storage. Chrismas said what is needed is new demand markets for sustainable palm oil. “Within these markets, they (sector) need to bring all industries to the table,” he said....

19 Feb 2016: IPOP in disfavour is a problem for RSPO 50% goal targeted at refineries  

IPOP in disfavour is a problem for RSPO 50% goal targeted at refineries

17 Feb 2016: SGS Malaysia termination

Transparency and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil: Why was SGS Malaysia’s accreditation terminated? By Chris Lang 10 February 2016
Is this Malaysian palm oil firm still destroying forest in Borneo — and selling to Wilmar? A Greenomics report finds deforestation in the supply chain of Genting Plantations, a supplier of Wilmar International. By Jonathan Vit, Mongabay 11 February 2016

10 Feb 2016: RSPO Next standard published 9 February following rising pressure but others fear exclusion of smaller companies, WWF to partner with food firms in sustainability think tank

Critics fear RSPO's stricter palm oil standards will create two-tier system A man harvests palm fruits at a plantation in Aceh province, Indonesia by Emma Howard 9 February 2016; While some believe the palm oil certifier is taking a significant step forward, others fear the creation of a system that excludes smaller companies..The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) published the RSPO Next standards on 9 February following rising pressure from industry and campaigners who claim that certified firms are still participating in deforestation, land-grabbing and the destruction of biodiversity, such as the loss of habitat for orangutans....

RSPO Next draws mixed reactions over environmental stance By Niamh Michail+, 10-Feb-2016 The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil's RSPO Next allows manufacturers to demonstrate a tougher stance on deforestation, forest fires and peatland clearance – but it has been slammed by Greenpeace which says many progressive companies and governments have already gone further.

WWF to partner with food firms in sustainability think tank By Niamh Michail+, 08-Feb-2016; The World Wildlife Fund has launched Markets Institute, a platform bringing together large industry players and small SMEs to boost sustainability using market-based approaches, winning praise from global giant Mars.

28 Jan 2016: News alert - CB disruptions to RSPO

Specialists are reporting sustainability market disruptions for RSPO as two certification bodies (CBs) have been suspended for 6 months (14 Jan) and 1 CB has been withdrawn (19 Jan, clients have to be transferred to other CBs). This is the part of a “clean-up” following the ARI October 2015 negative report from an investigation of a plantation group and two CBs. Traders report that many sustainability supply-chain participants have been affected. Some market participants say that certificates from the start of certification are affected and that some re-audits are needed.

20 Feb 2016: Back news review

Wilmar new CPO policy effective next month BY HANIM ADNAN 5 December 2015; Oil palm planters in Sarawak are bracing themselves for the impact of Wilmar International Ltd’s new crude palm oil (CPO) sourcing policy, which is expected to take effect early next month. Wilmar is the largest CPO buyer in Sarawak, purchasing almost 50% of the state’s total CPO production or about 3.3 million tonnes annually for its palm oil refinery in Bintulu....  On Dec 5, 2013, the agribusiness group had declared a “no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation” policy to take effect in 2016, whereby Wilmar would only source CPO from sustainable oil palm plantations.... The policy created discontent among Sarawak oil palm planters, particularly those who were heavily involved in cultivating oil palm in high carbon stock forests, high conservation areas and peat land. Close to 42% or 504,000ha of the state’s total 1.2 millon ha of oil palm plantations are planted on peat soil.

Palm Oil – the long road of the RSPO standard toward impact by Denis Ruysschaert, SWISSAID Genève and Helga Rainer, Arcus Foundation 13 Jan 2016

Plantation firms in a fix January 04, 2016 Kuala Lumpur: Plantation firms are in dilemma on whether the newly-formed Council for Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) will benefit them or should they ditch the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and adopt new ones. The new council is supposed to supersede current RSPO standards, but most large international buyers of crude palm oil (CPO) and its products choose RSPO as a benchmark.

ADM Takes First Step Towards Full Implementation of No-Deforestation Policy 13 Jan 2016

Felda signs MoU to develop smallholder risk assessment model 30 December 2015 - See more at:

FGV, P&G and others to develop jointly model for sustainability 30 December 2015
The top 5 food and agriculture stories in 2015 - Is there enough food to go around, and is it safe? And has it been produced at the expense of deforestation and loss of biodiversity? These were some questions the global community grappled with this year. A thick haze covers Singapore's Marina Bay district on 23 September 2015. Image: Eco-Business By Vaidehi Shah 28 December 2015

Towards a Global Definition of Sustainable Palm Oil  Dec 20, 2015 by Robert Hii Sustainable Business Consultant

RSPO to publish members’ plantation maps in wake of Indonesia’s forest fires By Niamh Michail+, 22-Dec-2015 The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) will publish maps of all its members’ palm oil plantations – with the exception of Malaysia – in the hope closer monitoring will prevent forest fires and peat land destruction. But is this enough?

New plantings news: Philippines - Farmers, indigenous peoples thumb down expansion of oil palm plantations , PM Modi wants 2 million ha of oil palm in Maharastra and Karnataka, India

Cheaper satellite imagery, the latest online tools and dedicated NGOs are raising ever more awareness on new oil palm plantings. There is expected to be a rise in the complaints against new plantings. Notably, there are interesting categories of forest put on popular online maps - for instance, "primary degraded forest" and more.

18 July 2016: News update

New Study recommends more sustainable approach to commercial agriculture in PNG June 6, 2016 Posted by PNG Today

Palm oil drive under review in Tanintharyi By Aye Nyein Win   |   11 July 2016 -- The government had planned to plant 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares) of oil palm in the region, rising to 700,000 acres by 2030, he said. But yields have been lower than expected due to a failure to carry out proper research, while controversies over land use have led to disputes with local residents

Dawei locals launch campaign against Chinese oil refinery plans   By Nick Baker and Su Phyo Win   |   11 May 2016 -- This palm oil plantation owned by military-run Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited is planned as the site of the country’s biggest oil refinery, behind Tizit beach near Dawei.

13 December 2015: Philippines - Farmers, indigenous peoples thumb down expansion of oil palm plantations

Philippines - Farmers, indigenous peoples thumb down expansion of oil palm plantations November 5, 2015  By RONALYN V. OLEA MANILA – About a hundred farmers and indigenous peoples voiced out their opposition to the expansion of oil palm plantations in the country. In a conference held Nov. 4 at a makeshift tent set up in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the farmers and indigenous people from Mindanao, Bohol and Palawan thumbed down the government’s plan to devote eight million hectares of land for oil palm by 2023. - See more at:

Mindanao land grabs to worsen w/ govt 1-M has. palm oil expansion plan Oct 27, 2015 .... “Attacks against the people who defend their lands continue to intensify as land grabbing in Mindanao also worsen due to government policies allowing the massive conversion of agricultural and ancestral lands,” said KMP Chair and Anakpawis Partylist President Rafael Mariano....

20 August 2015: PM Modi wants 2 million ha of oil palm in Maharastra and Karnataka, India

PM Narendra Modi to bet $1.5 billion on palm oil plan as imports surge By Reuters | 18 Aug, 2015, 03.33PM IST India plans to spend $1.5 billion in the next three years to help farmers grow oil palm trees in (on 2 million hectares in Maharashtra and Karnataka)... Modi is targeting India's $10 billion import bill for edible oils, its third-highest overseas spend after oil and gold, and has already been considering buying oilseeds directly from farmers and boosting government support for grow ..

23 June 2015: Ta Ann new NCR JV for 60% stake in 17,000 ha (60% plantable; Sibu and Kapit area) replaces 2012 agreements revoked for lack of land owners' interest; BLD questioned over new planting plan and NGO asks for "no deforestation, no peatland" policy - /khorreports-palmoil/2014/11/rspo-meeting-sabah-considering-100.html

10 June 2015: Is oil palm the answer for rural poverty in Papua?

Is oil palm the answer for rural poverty in Papua? Agustina YS Arobaya and Freddy Pattiselanno, Manokwari | Opinion | Tue, June 09 2015, 6:25 AM .Indonesian oil palm plantations have now reached more than 10 million hectares, making the country the world’s largest palm oil producer with an annual output of around 23 million tons. In Papua, the oil palm industry started in the 1980s — when state-owned PTPN II started an oil palm business in Arso and Prafi. The oil palm plantation was firstly intended to facilitate the transmigration program from other parts of Indonesia. A large part of the plantation is designed for a smallholder scheme allowing transmigrant families, mostly from Java and West Timor, together with Papuan customary land owners, to be allocated 2 hectares of oil palm per family and to sell their produce to the company.Presently as space becomes limited in western Indonesia, investors are increasingly looking to the east for new land. Data from the West Papua Oil Palm Atlas show that currently there are 21 companies starting operations in Papua. Twenty other companies are in an advanced stage of the permit process and appear to be almost ready to start land clearing whilst dozens more are still applying for the permits they need. - See more at:

7 June 2015:  Oil Palm Could Revitalize Colombian Agriculture - news link

Oil Palm Could Revitalize Colombian Agriculture RESTREPO, Colombia – Production of oil palm has the potential to become a growth engine for Colombian agriculture, the president of the National Federation of Oil Palm Growers, or Fedepalma, told Efe.
“Palm is one of the best positioned alternatives for the future development of Colombian farming,” Lens Mesa said, pointing out that the crop already accounts for 6 percent of Colombia’s agricultural gross domestic product.

28 May 2015: FGV to supply 1.1 million seeds oil palm seeds in Mindanao

FGV to supply premier oil palm seeds in Mindanao Monday, 25 May 2015 KUALA LUMPUR: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) subsidiary Felda Agriculture Services Sdn Bhd (FASSB) has ventured into the Philippine market to supply its premier oil palm seeds to planters in Mindanao. FASSB signed a Memorandum of Collaboration with the Philippines' Bali Oil Palm Produce Corporation (BOPPC) recently to explore the possibility of collaborating in agriculture-related products and services, said FGV in a statement here.  Under the collaboration, which will be a springboard for Mindanao to become one of the major world-class palm oil exporters together with FGV and other top world producers, FASSB is committed to delivering the first oil palm seeds to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and BOPPC this year. It is also to deliver 110,000 and one million DxP oil palm germinated seeds to PCA and BOPPC respectively, commencing June this year.
FGV produces over 25 million seeds annually and its export markets include  Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Honduras, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia,  Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Gabon.

24 May 2015:  Indian edible oil industry tries to increase oil palm plantation in North East India

Indian edible oil industry tries to increase oil palm plantation in North East India By ET Bureau | 21 May, 2015, 03.52PM IST Arunachal Pradesh has a potential of nearly 1.20 lakh hectare of oil palm plantation.Arunachal Pradesh has a potential of nearly 1.20 lakh hectare of oil palm plantation. PUNE: The edible oil industry in the country is exploring the possibility of increasing oil palm cultivation in the North East. It has asked for transport and plantation material subsidies to boost its cultivation in the region.  A seven members team of SEA under Leadership of Dr. Anupam Barik, Additional Commissioner (Oilseeds), Ministry of Agriculture visited North East states of Mizoram, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh during May 10 and May 15, 2015 to evaluate the scope from oil palm cultivation.  Oil palm cultivation in some of North East states has good potential. Mizoram has already taken initiative and nearly 20,000 hectares are under oil palm plantation having potential to expand to 80,000 hectares.  Similarly Arunachal Pradesh has a potential of nearly 1.20 lakh hectare of oil palm plantation. Assam too offers good potential for oil palm plantation and beginning is already done.

22 May 2015: 9,400 hectares of closed-canopy Amazonian rainforest removed for two oil palm plantations in the Peruvian region of Ucayali since 2011 - MAAP study; linked to Dennis Melka / United Cacao - Mongabay

Primary rainforest cleared for massive palm oil plantations in Peru by  John C. Cannon  May 20, 2015; More than 9,400 hectares of closed-canopy Amazonian rainforest has been removed for two oil palm plantations in the Peruvian region of Ucayali since 2011, according to scientists working for MAAP, the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project. The two plantations are linked to Czech entrepreneur Dennis Melka.  Melka is the CEO of United Cacao, a Cayman Islands-based company that has been accused by scientists and NGOs of clearing more than 2,000 hectares of primary forest for a cacao plantation in another part of Peru while claiming to espouse a “sustainable” approach. He is also the founder, director, chairman, and CEO of United Oils, headquartered in the Cayman Islands according to some associates, and is a Singapore-based “palm oil refiner” according to others. Based on the public statements of at least one American investor, it appears that United Oils has also claimed that its operations are also sustainable.  Based on an analysis of satellite images going back to 1990, a total of 12,188 total hectares of standing forest had been leveled through the end of April, MAAP reported on April 27. MAAP is an initiative by a group of scientific and conservation organizations to accessibly present technical information about threats to the Amazon.  Seventy-seven percent of the total deforested area had not been cleared – in other words, it had been primary forest – for at least the last 25 years. Nearly another 20 percent, or around 2,300 hectares, was secondary forest that had been cleared at one time but had since grown back, the analysis showed.
Read more:

The new name behind the threat to Cameroon’s Forests, Feature story - May 6, 2016 -- After the slowdown of the destructive Herakles Farms palm oil project in Cameroon, following extensive environmental and social opposition, we had hope for the future. However, it now looks like the infamous operation is being resurrected under a new identity, with ambitions to to destroy vast areas of forest and local community land. Since 2013, Greenpeace and other local and international organizations have been sounding the alarm over the Herakles Farms palm oil project in Cameroon’s Southwest Region While nobody was looking, Herakles Farms appears to have sold its palm oil project to new investors.  Reports from local workers and villagers pinpoint this transition to the summer of 2015, however according to company filings, it was not until November that a British man, Jonathan Johnson Watts, was named the new Chairman and General Manager of the SGSOC plantation. Jonathan Johnson Watts is no stranger to taking over struggling palm oil projects.  Watts was also involved in the purchase of a struggling palm oil project in Ghana, which as it turns out, was also sold to him by its previous owner, Herakles Farms a few years ago. The Volta Red plantation, as it is now know, is growing and palm oil production has begun....

Unprecedented deforestation in old Herakles plantation, now under new management 6 May 2016 / John C. Cannon -- After a spate of inactivity, a palm oil plantation in western Cameroon has come back to life.

9 March 2015: Palm oil firms in Peru plan to clear 23,000 hectares of primary forest

Palm oil firms in Peru plan to clear 23,000 hectares of primary forest by David Hill Saturday 7 March 2015 21.14 GMT; Four oil palm plantations connected to the same company are proposed for Peru’s northern Amazon.... Operations on two plantations called Maniti and Santa Cecilia which would involve clearing more than 9,300 hectares of primary forest could start imminently following a recent government decision.... “We’ve done an extensive analysis of satellite images of the project area and conclude that 84.6% of Maniti and Santa Cecilia is primary forest,” says a media statement from the Association for the Conservation of the Amazon Basin (ACCA), in Peru, and the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA), in the US. “That means deforesting 9,343 hectares - almost 13,000 football pitches - of primary forest!”... The companies involved in Maniti and Santa Cecilia, Islandia Energy and Palmas del Amazonas, are both receiving “technical and financial support” from Palmas del Espino, the leader in Peru’s oil palm industry and part of the country’s powerful Romero Group.
While the area under oil palm cultivation in Peru is much less than neighbouring Ecuador and Colombia, or other countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, expansion in recent years has been dramatic. The national and some regional governments have taken steps to promote and incentivise cultivation and almost 1.5 million hectares have been identified as potentially suitable, leading some people to see oil palm as now one of the biggest threats to the Peruvian Amazon....

Palm traceability sector (update 3a): GAR/Sinar Mas back in NGO focus, TFT suspends Golden Agri takes (and hours later a new chief sustainability officer is appointed for the plantation giant - Agus Purnomo)

21 May 2015: TFT suspends Golden Agri takes (and hours later a new chief sustainability officer is appointed for the plantation giant - Agus Purnomo)
Key issues and questions arising from Golden Agri / PT Smart's present situation:
  • Despite innovative industry attempts to promote traceability as a more inclusive solution (versus RSPO which struggles to include small producers and independent smallholders) while heightening key pledges such as "no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation," recent events raise the question of whether producers can live up to promises ("hastily made" according to many key industry players). 
  • Is palm oil entering a renewed phase of boycott risks? At the SIIA Singapore Dialogue, several IPOP members sat on a panel where Wilmar made a public pledge that it would (if told by other IPOP members) stop buying from any "errant suppliers" who were unable to make the necessary upgrade moves (and if it found such, it would stop buying; tell its fellows and request they would do likewise). Other panelists suggested more focus on constructively working with suppliers for improvement rather than boycott. If agreed, the IPOP "supplier boycott" proposal should give some teeth to the group. But it seems that IPOP members are not clear of the boycott risk themselves; with Golden Agri, a lead member itself now facing RSPO censure and TFT suspension.
  • Many industry players regard the shift to TFT B2B traceability as part of a processor-trader led move to find a more business-ready solution (that now seeks to shift the centre of gravity to refinery "supply sheds"; away from the RSPO mill and supply base P&C and RSPO's relatively costly physical supply chain SCCS outlook). The palm oil supply chain has since the mid 2000s been spending time and effort via NGO service providers, auditors and their newly established sustainability teams.
  • Industry watchers have been concerned about how widely known implementation gaps among the top highly rated traceable plantation groups will be treated by the broader NGO sector. Clearly, business life is hardly straight forward and the current issues suggest that there is no place for over-confidence and complacency while using new solutions. It seems we are entering a "third wave" where social issues and implementation will be primary - but have the big plantation groups put in enough resourcing to upgrade their implementation efforts to their pledges?  
Some background on IPOP group here: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) /khorreports-palmoil/2014/10/indonesia-palm-oil-pledge.html. At the SIIA dialogue we had a useful chat with a Catapult Campaigns staffers who confirmed their key role in the New York Declaration and IPOP. On the risk of large dominant players establishing boycotts on smaller suppliers (raising question on economic interest suppression), there was no answer. A key consideration is on campaign advocacy efficiency and impact.

News link:

Golden Agri takes another hit as sustainability guru suspends its membership by Philip Jacobson May 20, 2015; The charity that Indonesia's Golden Agri-Resources has enlisted to devise and implement its zero-deforestation and community-engagement commitments suspended its cooperation with the palm oil giant yesterday, following "several breaches" of the policies they had designed together, according to The Forest Trust (TFT), which helps companies run responsible supply chains. A few hours after TFT announced the suspension, Singapore-listed Golden Agri said in a statement that its chief sustainability officer, Peter Heng, had resigned "to pursue new career opportunities." His replacement is Agus Purnomo, who has headed one of Golden Agri's Indonesian subsidiaries, Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (Smart). Smart's own subsidiary, Kartika Prima Cipta, became the subject of a formal complaint against its operations last year after Golden Agri filed to expand its plantations in 18 of its subsidiaries including Kartika Prima, despite evidence that Kartika Prima had taken community land without residents' informed consent, failed to properly conduct a high-conservation value (HCV) assessment and more. The grievance was lodged by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), a UK-based NGO, with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the industry's largest voluntary certification scheme. Though TFT was vague in its announcement, the suspension is almost certainly a response to what is apparently seen as Golden Agri and Smart's lackluster handling of the RSPO complaint, which takes on additional importance because Kartika Prima is piloting Golden Agri's sustainability commitments. The RSPO upheld the complaint in March and earlier this month prohibited Golden Agri from "acquiring or developing any new areas" pending its resolution.... Read more:

16 May 2015: It's not plain sailing for plantations who've gone in with the "second wave" of heightened "three nos" on peat, deforestation and exploitation

It's not plain sailing for plantations who've gone in with the "second wave" of heightened "three nos" on peat, deforestation and exploitation. Sector risk is of a "third wave" of rather tough to resolve social issues, which may be heightened due to the HCS / high carbon stock regimes coming into play.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has prohibited Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), one of its most prominent members, from "acquiring or developing any new areas" pending the resolution of a formal complaint against the palm oil giant in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province.  The decision by the RSPO, the world's largest voluntary certification scheme for palm oil, is a stern directive from an organization that has been criticized for failing to take action against companies that flout its standards....  Read more:<<a%20href=>">

16 Jan 2014:

Khor Reports comment: Plantation partnership deals with some NGOs does not preclude good implementation and monitoring by other NGOs. GAR/Sinar Mas had faced boycotts and enlisted TFT-Greenpeace to help (Wilmar is now also signed up on TFT-Greenpeace HCS Approach and other principles). Now, plantation planners should prepare for larger set-aside areas for their new plantings.

The latest news on GAR from a study by Forest Peoples Program / FPP (see news links) highlights some problems of high carbon stock (HCS)/social implementations of the new policies of TFT-Greenpeace for GAR. GAR said, “We thank FPP for their additional findings which have assisted our own full field audit of PT KPC, conducted in partnership with The Forest Trust.” Separately, APRIL and RGE are under pressure from Greenpeace.

Observation on new power relationships in the palm oil supply chain - policy making

There appears to be some relative institutional weakness in policy making in business circles (many industry players acknowledge this) over sustainability policies that are increasingly affecting market access for commodities such as palm oil. Notably there is a regressive higher cost for smaller players to comply with rising certification standards. Relative shallow institutional depth results in asymmetry in bargaining power or effort in the de facto international trade agreement that voluntary sustainability / traceability deals represent. This is not unexpected – see the Brundtland Report. Also, the devolvement of power to NGOs may also not serve the interests of buyers in complex supply-chains such as palm oil, as some specialists observe a preference there for a level of simplicity (rather than complexity). This apparent problem is compounded by the fact that the NGO sector appears to be building new sources of income (direct and/or indirect) that are independent of corporate CSR giving, individual donations or government grants. Key observers note that NGOs have since the 2007 Global Financial Crisis (when traditional funding fell drastically) been developing as technical service providers to help resolve corporate problems – this is obvious in palm oil. This is a different and stronger power relationship for NGOs vis-à-vis their traditional corporate backers in consumption countries and even their new corporate clients and/or backers in commodity producing countries. Such NGO sector expansionism and the wider use of new technology such as social media, geo-data and remote sensing are likely to create greater issues of scrutiny for the palm oil sector.