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The Jakarta Post
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Economy in brief: Initiative launched to unify palm oil certification

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

| Mon, November 4, 2013 | 10:00 am

JAKARTA: The multi-stakeholder Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) initiatve of the Ministry of Agriculture have signed an agreement on strategic cooperation to eventually develop a unified certifiation scheme for sustainable palm oil.

The first initiative under the partnership is a joint study with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to examine both voluntary international standards used by the RSPO and mandatory national standards of the ISPO, the RSPO office here announced on Saturday.

'€œThis is the response of Indonesia as the world'€™s largest palm oil producer to the global concern over the need to ensure growth, equity, improved livelihoods and environmental integrity in the palm oil sector'€, said Rosediana Suharto, the executive chairman of the ISPO Commission.

The RSPO-ISPO joint study itself was initiated also as part of the Sustainable Palm Oil (SPO) initiative launched by the Ministry of Agriculture, UNDP and members of the private sector, with the objective of promoting sustainable palm oil production and operation in Indonesia, RSPO Secretary General Darrel Webber noted.

One of the key components of the SPO Initiative was the establishment of a multi-stakeholder platform, where stakeholders such as the RSPO and ISPO could convene and discuss how best to work together to achieve sustainable palm oil in Indonesia, Webber said.

'€œThe RSPO was set up in 2004 as a multistakeholder forum of producers, consumers, retailers and financiers to develop sustainable palm oil, while the ISPO was launched in 2012 by the Indonesian government.

While certification under the RSPO is voluntary, yet recognized by the international market, the ISPO is mandatory for all palm oil companies in Indonesia but lacks credibility due to the non-involvement of environmental NGOs and companies in the audit process.

Webber hoped that the study would clarify the disparities and identify the synergies between the two certification schemes to facilitate ease of certification, while maintaining the robustness and rigor of the audit process.

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