Oil palm fruits

Palm oil group continues to fail to meet its own standards

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is intended to prevent the destruction of High Conservation Value forests and protect forest-dependent communities from exploitation by palm oil firms, but this report in the latest edition of Indonesian magazine Tempo shows how the body’s complaints process is failing to uphold its standards.

Complaints against members which have violated the voluntary terms of the RSPO are stymied by opaque bureaucratic procedures and a lack of clear process.

The article quotes from EIA’s forest campaigners on their experience of tackling palm oil companies and attempting to hold them to “sustainability” standards.

In November last year, the EIA report Banking on Extinction highlighted how two member companies had violated the RSPO’s principles but had gone largely unpunished.

To date, EIA has two outstanding complaints against two other RSPO members that have yet to be successfully resolved, despite months of wrangling.

The RSPO has come under attack for the weakness of its standards, which do not seek to prevent deforestation and are not truly “sustainable”.

If it cannot hold its members to even these basic principles, its role within an industry where buyers are calling for stronger standards must be in doubt.