Over 800 delegates from 36 countries gather at world's largest sustainable palm oil meeting in Singapore
The 10th Annual Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT10), the world’s largest sustainable palm oil meeting, opened today in Singapore. Over 800 delegates from 36 countries around the world have registered to attend RT10, presented by international multi-stakeholder organisation the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The theme for this year’s Roundtable Meeting is '10 Years of Driving Sustainability – A Business Model for the Future'.
Over 100 distinguished speakers from stakeholders across the palm oil sector will be sharing their perspectives and insights at RT10 over the next two days. Speakers include representatives from oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs.
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Singapore was the Guest of Honour at the event, held at Resorts World Sentosa. Following his opening address, DPM Tharman presented certificates to four smallholders from Thailand who recently attained RSPO certification, becoming the world’s first independent smallholders to achieve this.
“Although there are no palm oil plantations in Singapore, Singapore has a stake in RSPO,” said Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, in his keynote address. “Singapore will benefit if all palm oil plantations in Indonesia belong to the RSPO.” Professor Koh also noted that while RSPO’s membership was drawn from seven sectors, including banks and investors, none of Singapore’s banks was a member of RSPO. “I would respectfully request them to consider doing so”, he said.
Dr Jan Kees Vis, President of the RSPO and Global Director Sustainable Sourcing Development, Unilever, said: “A great transformation to global sustainability is necessary, possible and desirable. This will prevent us reaching the tipping point from which damaged natural systems will never recover… But there is little time. We only have decades to turn things around, not centuries. That makes it our responsibility, today, now.”
“This tenth year is a highly significant milestone for RSPO. The strong international participation from palm oil stakeholders at RT10 is testimony to the increasing recognition worldwide that sustainable palm oil production and business practices are no longer an option but a must for the long-term good of the industry,” said Mr Darrel Webber, Secretary General of the RSPO. “We have come a long way in the last ten years, but there is still much room for growth. This is a very exciting time for the palm oil sector as it advances ever closer to making sustainable palm oil the norm. I am optimistic that we will see many fruitful discussions and dynamic exchanges of ideas at RT10.”
Discussions at RT10 began yesterday with a full day of preparatory clusters addressing pressing topics relevant to the palm oil sector such as High Conservation Value forests and biodiversity management, certification of smallholders and greenhouse gas emissions. The Principles & Criteria (P&C) review and outcomes preparatory cluster provided a valuable opportunity to solicit feedback on the revised P&C draft, contributing to the second stage of public and stakeholder consultations on the P&C review.
The RT10 Plenary Sessions over the next two days will reflect the concerns and priorities of stakeholders as the RSPO continues to strive towards market transformation. Key themes include “RSPO: A Decade of Success and its Significance Ahead”, “Meeting Commitments and Continuous Performance Along the Supply Chain” and “Smallholder Achievements and Sustainability”. RT10 will also examine investment challenges in new frontiers such as Latin America and Africa, and will feature a plenary session with high-level representatives from sustainability and environmental roundtables and associations worldwide to discuss the efficacy of the multi-stakeholder approach.
14 per cent of world's palm oil production is now RSPO certified
The current estimated annual production capacity of RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil is 7.2 million metric tonnes, approximately 14 percent of global palm oil production. Spread over 1.6 million hectares of certified area, about 45.5% of the world's current RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil production capacity comes from Indonesia, followed by 44.7% from Malaysia, and the remaining 9.8% from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Brazil, Colombia and Ivory Coast.
For more information about RT10, please log on to www.rt10.rspo.org