KUCHING: The number of Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSP)O certified independent smallholders increased by 52 per cent and the total number of smallholders increased by an impressive 165 per cent during the period of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
According to the RSPO in their 2019 Impact Report, this is a particularly encouraging result as the RSPO continues to promote a greater inclusion of smallholders while also ensuring that the core sustainability requirements are upheld.
Other noteworthy trends included significant growth in RSPO certified area in Africa to 56 per cent.
From a global perspective, the total RSPO certified area grew by over 22 per cent year-on-year to 3.89 million hectares across 16 countries, with a production volume of 14.29 million metric tonnes (MT) of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) and 3.21 million MT of Certified Sustainable Palm Kernel (CSPK).
RSPO also approved 19 new grower members over the past financial year and totaling 171 growers in organisation as of June 30, 2019.
RSPO chief executive officer, Datuk Darrel Webber, said: “I am thrilled to see this sort of growth across a number of important parts of the sustainable palm oil value chain, particularly with regard to smallholders, and just before the new Independent Smallholder Standard is tabled for adoption at our upcoming roundtable conference this November.
“I am confident we’ll see these numbers continue to increase in the years to come,” he said.
In terms of membership, RSPO grew by an impressive 11 per cent reaching 4,349 members as of 30 June 2019, with the US, Germany, and the United Kingdom achieving top three respectively for membership.
Interestingly, the report also showed a 25 per cent increase in RSPO Trademark licence holders since the last reporting period. Furthermore, there was also a two per cent growth in overall demand and uptake during this reporting period. Webber, took this opportunity to call upon downstream members: “Without more pressure and demand from the downstream market, the likely outcome is more unsustainable palm oil.”
Additionally, RSPO members continued their efforts by avoiding land clearance and any new planting on peat, and by sequestering conservation areas in new development, thus saving 1.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing almost 300,000 passenger vehicles from the road in a single year.
Early next month, RSPO members from across the world will meet at the 17th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT17) in Bangkok, Thailand, under the theme, ‘A Shared Responsibility: Converting Commitments into Actions’.
With 2020 sustainability targets fast approaching, RT17 will be the ideal platform for representatives from the global palm oil industry to discuss the latest challenges and opportunities facing the sustainable palm oil sector.
Thereafter, members of RSPO‘s 16th Annual General Assembly will vote on a number of resolutions, including the new proposed RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard.