The Jakarta Post
The government is seeking support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for its Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard.
Musdhalifah Machmud, the official in charge of food and agriculture at the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister, told a UNDP forum in New York on Tuesday that the Indonesian government had made the ISPO mandatory for all palm oil companies to improve sustainability in production.
“The ISPO has been seven years in implementation. We need your recognition and support, so that we can make sure that we plant palm oil sustainably,” Musdhalifah told the forum, which was also attended by representatives from international NGOs.
The ISPO system was launched in 2011 based on a decree on sustainable palm oil certification. The government requires all producers to apply for the program by September 2015 and receive their certificates by March 2017.
As of last month, 304 companies of a total of 1,200 oil palm companies have received ISPO certificates.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) has said that the ISPO certification has yet to bring any benefits to companies joining the program, because the ISPO standards lacks international recognition.
Musdhalifah said the government had taken several steps to ensure sustainability of palm oil production, but the international community seemed to apply “double standards” in the sustainability of palm oil versus other vegetable oils, most notably rapeseed, soy and sunflower.
“There is a double standard between palm oil and other commodities, which makes palm oil production challenging,” she said.
She added that the UNDP should support the ISPO standard, considering the importance of palm oil for Indonesia, especially its important role in reducing poverty and creating jobs in rural areas.