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Jakarta Post

Sustainable palm oil enters the UN environmental agenda

  • Vincent Lingga

    The Jakarta Post

Kuala Lumpur   /   Wed, November 19, 2014   /  12:16 pm
Sustainable palm oil enters the UN environmental agenda Cooperation agreement: Exchanging the documents of cooperation (left to right) RSPO Chairman Biswaranjan Sen, UNEP Executive Douglas Cress and RSP Secretary General Darrel Webber. (Courtesy of RSPO)

Cooperation agreement: Exchanging the documents of cooperation (left to right) RSPO Chairman Biswaranjan Sen, UNEP Executive Douglas Cress and RSP Secretary General Darrel Webber. (Courtesy of RSPO)

The development program for socially, environmentally and economically sustainable palm oil is poised to accelerate following the signing of a cooperation agreement between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

UNEP senior executive Douglas Cress noted on Wednesday that cooperation should be a model for the sustainable development of other farm commodities, as the RSPO engaged all representatives from the whole spectrum of the palm oil supply-chain.

He added that the UNEP-RSPO engagement aimed to raise global awareness about sustainable palm oil and generate market demand for an important commodity that has the potential to play a key role in preserving the earth'€™s biodiversity.

Palm oil is the top-selling vegetable oil in the world and is found in 50 percent of all consumer goods. But conventional, reckless production methods '€“ while offering huge economic and social opportunities for exporting nations -- are highly unsustainable and can cause serious damage to the environment. Indonesia supplies around 31 million metric tons, or 50 percent of the global palm oil output, while Malaysia supplies around 40 percent and Africa and Latin America the remaining 10 percent.

'€œThis program will surely support the achievement of the sustainable development goals that UNEP has formulated,'€ Cress told the RSPO 12th annual conference.

He added that UNEP could help bring synergy to the RSPO scheme, the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) scheme and the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) scheme, as the principles and criteria used for certifying sustainable palm oil under all three were similar.

The RSPO, which was founded in 2004, counts over 1,800 members and is the world'€™s largest sustainable palm oil certification program which, according to its chairman Biswaranjan Sen, now covers 18 percent of the global palm oil output, estimated at 65 million tons. (***)

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