Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

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The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was established in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with a satellite office in Jakarta. RSPO currently has 3,659 members from 92 countries.[2] (WP)

Founded by the WWF in 2004.

Fit for Purpose?

Wilmar (and others) are licensees - but a recent Greenpeace report shows that, despite their greenwash promises in 2012, Wilmar and other RSPO licensees have cleared over 130,000 hectares of rainforest since late 2015.

The Carrot, rather than the Stick. Many have criticised the RSPO for lack of credibility, and a certification standard that is holding back progressive reform. But what if the critics instead demand that downstream RSPO members should only buy 100% RSPO certified oil? A higher demand for RSPO-certified oil would further stimulate production, and more growers would join. RSPO could serve as a stepping stone to long-term higher voluntary standards such as RSPO NEXT, NDPE and the POIG standard. When critics demand that producers adopt these higher standards, they overlook the need for a step-wise process. RSPO may not be perfect, but positive attention from NGOs on driving the uptake of RSPO certified oil will serve their cause much more effectively than ever more criticism.[1]


The RSPO members' concession maps: in theory this mapping database should be an invaluable tool, allowing stakeholders to get a complete picture of each producer group's landholdings and any deforestation within their concession boundaries. However, the RSPO has chosen to release these maps in the most dysfunctional manner, with no working search function and no way to see a producer group's complete holdings. It is completely unusable, yet producer groups and traders use it to justify their refusal to publish maps themselves in a format that is usable.[2]
The map excludes concessions in Malaysia[3] and Indonesia. Of course, this is nothing to do with either country's govts pushing the palm oil industry, and strongly resisting all attempts at transparency.[4] However, it was clarified in May.2017[5] that there is no legal requirement preventing members from publishing their concession maps - so why is the RSPO dragging its heels on this?
The Map only covers concessions directly owned by members; the companies; extensive supply base for oil is not included. Maps of all concessions linked to groups supplying member companies, whether directly owned by members or not, should and must be published.[6] However, SPOTT requests map data directly from non-RSPO member companies; if only the RSPO would integrate this data, a little more progress would be made.


Members are primarily companies and institutions from the Palm Oil Industry, incl. plantation operators, trading companies, and industrial purchasers of palm oil, as well as investors and banks.
We are a not-for-profit that unites stakeholders from the 7 sectors of the palm oil industry: oil palm producers, processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks/investors, and environmental and social non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. ref. See slides #8 link + infographic, + WIP/readme-RSPO.pdf The RSPO publishes a list of licencees and licensed goods - but it is also unusable. ... more on this ..., they also had a list of consumer goods, but I can't find it again, grr.

Supply Chains

... traceability ... PalmTrace, run by UTZ... eTrace ...


The prequisite for RSPO certification is fulfilment of specific criteria in the following areas: (see palm-oil-infographic.jpg)
Two certification schemes - see infographic here, >> Education Pack
Products using the Trademark search,
Licensees search, (absolutely crap search)


RSPO PalmTrace is the RSPO’s traceability system for certified oil palm products. From the mill to the refineries, certified members of RSPO register their physical sales and processing activities of palm oil, palm kernel and its (double) fractions under the supply chain models Identity Preserved, Segregated and Mass Balance. RSPO PalmTrace also offers a marketplace and the possibility to register off market deals (Book and Claim) for RSPO Credits. The usage of RSPO PalmTrace is part of the RSPO certification program.
RSPO PalmTrace is developed and managed by UTZ.

RSPO Credits

An RSPO Credit is proof that one tonne of certified palm oil was produced by an RSPO-certified company or independent producer, and has entered the global palm oil supply chain. By purchasing Credits, buyers encourage the production of certified sustainable palm oil.


  1. ^ How to Contribute to Reforming the Palm Oil Sector. Sustainability Newsletter, p.7, Bunge Loders Croklaan, Jul.13.2018. <ref name="rspo-maps">Final Countdown: Now or Never to Reform the Palm Oil Industry". Greenpeace International, Sept.2018.
  2. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named rspo-maps
  3. ^ RSPO leaves out Malaysian palm oil concession maps, says it infringes OSA. Sangeetha Amarthalingam, The Edge Markets, Nov.29.2017.
  4. ^ Indonesia’s oil palm maps remain hidden from public view. Why? Philip Jacobson, Mongabay, Mar.23.2016.
  5. ^ RSPO Update on legality of e-maps publication in Indonesia. RSPO, May.31.2017.
  6. ^ RSPO to publish members’ plantation maps in wake of Indonesia’s forest fires. Palm Oil Action, Feb.09.2016.