Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil

Posted in Global, Responsibility, Sharing best practices/standards, Single crop.


General Information

Crop: Palm Oil

Geographic scope: Global

Active Countries: Global

Initiated in 2004

A not-for-profit organization that unites stakeholders from the seven sectors of the palm oil industry: palm oil producers, palm oil processors, palm oil traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, and environmental and social nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. It was begun in 2001 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), resulting in 2002 in informal co-operation between Aarhus United UK ltd., Migros, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, and Unilever. In 2004, the RSPO was formally established and 47 organizations signed a Statement of Intent regarding their commitment to the RSPO.

Members: Private sector including international buyers (large bakeries), international palm oil producers, international palm oil processors, and traders and international retailers, such as multinationals and large supermarket chains; NGOs, ranging from international environmental and conservation organizations and also including social and development NGOs; international banks and investors.



Deforestation due to unsustainable practices in the production of palm oil

The RSPO was set up to address deforestation arising from unsustainable practices related to palm oil, land grabs in which local communities are displaced from their land, and violations of worker’s rights. As a response to these issues, the platform desires to transform the palm oil industry in collaboration with the global supply chain.


Intentions and aspiration

Sustainable palm oil production

The platform engages in sustainable palm oil production and in improving the working conditions of employees in the palm oil value chain. The platform envisions a norm within markets of sustainable palm oil, with the goal of promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. The mission echoes this as it encompasses promoting sustainable palm oil products, periodically reviewing credible global standards for the supply chain of palm oil, monitoring and evaluating the economic, environmental, and social impacts of sustainable palm oil in the market, and ensuring that all platform members are engaged.


Arrangements and capacitities

RSPO is managed by a board of governors, with the members designated by the general assembly for a two-year period. The board of governors is supported by four standing committees that oversee standards and certification, trade and traceability, communications and claims, and finance. Each sector has a different number of seats on the board. The RSPO Working Groups and Task Force Groups encourage members to address complex challenges and provide solutions. The Secretariat is based in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and is in charge of day-to-day activities.


Activities and outputs

RSPO issues a sustainable certificate to all members who comply with the standard and offers access to a strategic platform to influence policies, a dispute settlement facility, and support to ensure the best agricultural, environmental, and social practices.


Monitoring and evaluation

Annual communication of progress reports are submitted to RSPO members to observe their progress.



Posted in Global, Responsibility, Sharing best practices/standards, Single crop.