Certified palm oil is good for Indonesia

Editorial: Sustainability is the basic issue
The Jakarta Post | Wed, 11/10/2010 9:51 AM | Editorial

It would be misguided for Indonesian companies to boycott or quit the Kuala Lumpur-based Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), as demanded by several executives of the palm oil producers association (Gapkindo) and the government-sponsored Palm Oil Board.

Such a move against RSPO, which opened its eighth annual conference and exhibition here Tuesday, would not resolve the international attacks on several major Indonesian palm oil companies for allegedly damaging natural forests through plantation expansion. The core issue is that big buyers in Europe such as Unilever and Nestle have been pressured by environmental campaigners such as Greenpeace and consumer organizations to stop buying palm oil from Indonesian producers that have not gained green certification under the RSPO principles and criteria.

Allegations that European palm oil buyers have used this pressure from NGOs as a bargaining weapon to get lower prices from Indonesian suppliers, given the country’s position as the world’s largest producer, seem groundless.

The suspicion that the green campaign is a subterfuge by the producers of vegetable oil such as soybean, sunflower, rapeseed and corn oil in rich countries in coping with the fierce competition from palm oil is misplaced.

First of all, the principles and criteria assessed for RSPO green certification are precisely the best practices of agricultural development we have ourselves been promoting: legal and regulatory compliance, the best production practices, environmental responsibility and commitments to employees and local community development.

Continued: Editorial: Sustainability is the basic issue

Author: Mongabay

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