Monday, 2 November 2009

RSPO Standards To Drive Palm Oil Industry Better, Says WWF

RSPO Standards To Drive Palm Oil Industry Better, Says WWF

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 (Bernama) -- Most of the standards introduced under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) will make the industry better, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Its senior food and agriculture officer Adam Harrison said the standards could help industry players to better manage their production process more efficiently, such as the use of pesticides and fertilisers.

"Many of the palm oil growers are saying that the certification has improved their production while at the same time reduce their costs," he said at a media briefing on the WWF Palm Oil Buyers' Scorecard 2009 here Monday.

WWF, formerly known as World Wildlife Fund, is one of the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organisations with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries.

It has worked with the palm oil industry to ensure that the RSPO and Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) standards contain robust social and environmental criteria, including a prohibition on the conversion of valuable forests.

"The establishment of the certified palm oil would not inherently invite the palm oil to be expensive," Harrison said, adding that the whole value chain including buyers and consumers would bear whatever the costs.

"We should understand that the standards will benefit grower in terms of efficiency in their production, environment, economic and business financial," he said.

According to Harrison, the industry outlook is bright in view of the growing demand from bigger markets such as India and China.

"WWF will include major palm oil buyers from these countries in the later version of the scorecard, along with other markets such as North America," he said.

The scorecard is an assessment of the palm oil purchasing practices of major European companies that produce or sell everyday consumer products.

Harrison urged more palm oil buyers to commit to the RSPO as its recent scorecard assessment showed majority of the European buyers failing to buy certified sustainable palm oil despite its availability.

"As certified palm oil is now available, it is the time to hold major palm oil users to account for their policies and actions," he said.