The need for greater communication and collaboration were among the core topics for discussion at the European Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue, which took place in the Netherlands last week.
The annual Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue Europe conference took place in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, last week, welcoming industry decision makers, academics and NGOs for a fascinating day of debate and discussion on what is required to increase physical sourcing of sustainable palm oil into industry supply chains.
Organised by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), along with the European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA) and IDH, this year’s conference was the fourth of its type, and saw the launch of the Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue Manifesto, calling for consumer goods manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers to strengthen their commitment for certified sustainable palm oil.
A Call To Action
The Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue Manifesto covers four key areas, asking retailers and brands to commit to undertake or strengthen the following actions:
- To source certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) for all food, feed and oleochemical products containing palm oil or palm oil derivative ingredients, [and] to strengthen the efforts of moving from a virtual supply chain (e.g. when buying RSPO credits) to physical sourcing of CSPO.
- To strengthen the engagement in landscape/jurisdictional approach to support the governance of CSPO and scale up the positive impact of local initiatives.
- To integrate sustainable production from smallholders at any stage of the palm oil supply chain.
- To strengthen communication on sustainable palm oil, in order to increase awareness amongst consumers and stimulate their support for sustainable palm oil, by explaining the need for and benefits of certified sustainable production.
Some 13 companies and organisations have already endorsed the Manifesto. These include confectionery giant Ferrero, household goods maker Henkel, KTC Edibles and Sime Darby Plantation among others.
Given the macro uncertainty in the world at present, the theme of this year’s Dialogue was ‘Securing Sustainability in Turbulent Times’, with more than 20 leading speakers addressing Communication, Innovation and Legislation in line with this theme over the course of the day.
In his welcome address, RSPO’s Chief Executive Officer Joseph D’Cruz noted that Europe has come a long way in terms of “leading the transformation” around certified sustainable palm oil, with 93% of European palm oil imports (for food, feed and oleochemicals) being RSPO certified. However, he added that the industry has “a lot more to do to reach consumers” and reshape the dialogue around sustainable palm oil in general.
A panel discussion featuring Marcelo Martins of Cargill, Henkel’s Christine Schneider, and Christophe Bordin of Ferrero shed further light on the positive application of certified sustainable palm oil in the consumer goods sector, with Bordin repeating what would become a rallying cry for many over the course of the day: “We are fully convinced that the best alternative to palm oil is sustainable palm oil.”
Other topics addressed on the day included a discussion on social challenges and market access for smallholders, featuring input from IDH’s Matthew Spencer, Lanashree Thanda of BC Initiative and Renaka Ramachandran of Sime Darby Plantation; as well as an insightful presentation from Mark van Boal of Follow This.
This year’s event also featured an Innovation Fair and competition, organised in cooperation with Wageningen University & Research and the Sustainable Palm Oil Choice (SPOC).
More information can be found at www.spod-europe.eu.
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