9 December 2023
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The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) said on Tuesday it is developing a new system to trace the origin and environmental credentials of the commodity in response to demands by global buyers for proof of sustainability beyond certification.

RSPO appointed in October a consortium of agri-tech firms consisting of Agridence, CIED and Australia’s NGIS to develop the new system which would provide more information on the vegetable oil supply chain, officials said.

RSPO aims to launch the system in the fourth quarter of 2024.

“We need to rethink our existing standard and certification system and develop approaches that help the industry to prove sustainability in the way the markets, regulators and customers demand today,” RSPO chief executive Joseph D’Cruz told an industry conference on Tuesday.

The European Union in December agreed on an anti-deforestation regulation that requires companies to produce a statement showing when and where their commodities, including palm oil, were produced and provide “verifiable” information that they were not grown on land deforested after 2020. Failing to do so could result in hefty fines.

RSPO director Francisco Naranjo told reporters the new platform “could be a very powerful tool to help our members to show compliance with EUDR regulations”.

The regulation, due to come into force in late 2024, has been welcomed by environmentalists as an important step in protecting forests, but producing countries have raised concerns that the law would exclude smallholders from the global supply chain.

In 2022, certified sustainable palm oil production reached 15.4 million metric tons, while consumption stood at 9.2 million tons, RSPO data showed.

Abdul Gh Lone