A series of major Asian palm oil companies that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) have been exposed for violations of RSPO guidelines. As a recent press release from the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) demonstrates in documenting several of these cases, these violations raise the question of whether the RSPO is actually able to enforce its own standards.
It was recently established by Green Advocates, representing the Kru tribes in Liberia, that a subsidiary of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producer, Sina Mas, had clearly violated the RSPO’s New Planting Procedure by not advertising plans to clear and plant oil palms and not publicising a High Conservation Value Assessment. According to RSPO standards, the company should cease clearance until due process is followed, especially as community members have expressed concern that their land is being taken without their free, prior and informed consent.
The FPP press release documents further violations of RSPO guidelines in Liberia, Cameroon, Malaysia, and Indonesia, many uncovered through a partnership between FPP, Sawit Watch and other partners to review the practices of 15 major palm oil companies in West Africa and Southeast Asia. It concludes by noting Sawit Watch’s concern that the RSPO must significantly improve its system as its credibility is clearly at stake.