BANGKOK: Members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are using the “no palm oil” label on their products, which goes against the movement’s objective to promote sustainable palm oil.
“Over the last few years, there has been a growing resentment among African and Asian growers against RSPO members who use the ‘no palm oil’ label on their products,” said co-chairman of the RSPO board of governors Datuk Carl Bek-Nielsen.
This goes against the spirit of the RSPO, which is to promote the production and use of RSPO-certified palm oil, he told the 14th Annual Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT14) here yesterday.
“This dream will not happen as long as there are 489 products found on the shelves today with the ‘no palm oil’ label belonging to RSPO members.
“This is why many growers sitting on the fence refuse to join RSPO, because your actions do not facilitate our shared goal of making sustainable palm oil the norm,” said Bek-Nielsen, who is chief executive director of Malaysian palm oil producer United Plantations Berhad.
Bek-Nielsen pointed out that smallholders found the RSPO “bureaucratic, slow, not possible to reach and even arrogant”.
He said there was a need to simplify the procedural requirements for RSPO-certification for smallholders, who make up 40% of palm oil producers in Malaysia, 50% in Indonesia and 80% in Thailand.
“The smallholder fraternity requires additional resources, time and help, failing which we will risk them turning their backs on the RSPO and accusing the RSPO of not fulfilling the spirit of the United Nations’ creed on sustainable development, that ‘sustainable development must go hand in hand with action to raise the living standards of the poor’,” Bek-Nielsen cautioned.