Oil palm land certified with RSPO rises to 3.9m ha


THE Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has certified 3.89 million hectares (ha) of oil palm plantation in June 2019, a 22% increase from a year ago.

RSPO CEO Datuk Darrel Webber (picture) said the areas, located in 16 countries, produced 14.29 million metric tonnes (MT) of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and 3.21 million MT of certified sustainable palm kernel (CSPK).

“Despite the fact that 2018 was rather inward-looking for the review process, there was a 2% growth in overall demand and uptake of CSPO, and an increase in CSPO sales for the reporting period.

“The certified plantations grew by over 22% to 3.89 million ha, across 16 countries,” he said in RSPO’s Impact Update 2019 report recently.

Indonesia and Malaysia remain the largest oil palm producing nations combined — accounting for 81% of the total RSPO-certified area, while the certified area in Africa grew by 56% since June 2018.

RSPO’s membership has grown 11% year-on-year in June, reaching 4,349 members, mostly in the US, Germany and the UK. “The number of RSPO-certified independent smallholders has increased by 52%. The total number of smallholders increased by an impressive 165% during the period of July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019,” the report noted.

The certification body has approved 19 new grower members over the past financial year, totalling 171 growers in the organisation as of June 30, 2019.

“RSPO also saw a 25% increase in RSPO Trademark licence holders since the last reporting period,” it said.

On the annual growth of CSPO sales, the report said overall demand and uptake of the commodity has recorded a slight increase of 2% from 2017 to 2018.

Oil palm products can be traded through any of the four supply chain models approved by RSPO, such as the identity preserved (IP), segregated (SG), mass balanced (MB) and RSPO book and claim.

While there was an increase in the sales of CSPO through book and claim from 1.6 million MT to 1.9 million MT, the opposite is true for the sales of CSPO through IP, SG and MB, falling from 4.5 million MT to 4.3 million MT for the reporting period.

Webber said RSPO has developed a guidance document for the payment, with a decent living wage criteria for workers in RSPO-certified units based on the Global Living Wage Coalition methodology.

“We have not stood still in the way that we work to innovate our efforts to fulfil the mission of the RSPO — to make sustainable palm oil the norm. We continue to work on our jurisdictional approach to certification in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Ecuador, as well as other countries in Latin America and Africa.

“We have continued to push the use of new technology and have launched pilots for the expanded use of a social listening tool, Ulula, in Malaysia, as we look for innovative approaches to tough social issues,” he said.