12 Dec 2016, in Palm Oil - In early November, the IDH team visited the 14th annual round table on sustainable palm oil (RSPO RT). Although as a certification neutral organisation IDH is not an RSPO member, IDH is keen to support all actors working towards sustainable palm oil. Our focus this year was on the jurisdictional approach to certification, as IDH is supporting the efforts of South Sumatra to become one of the first RSPO certified jurisdictions in the world.
IDH partner Pak Bupati Beni Hernedi (bupati of Musi Banyusin district, which expects to be the first district in South Sumatra to be certified) spoke about his understanding and vision for the process, including how to reconcile challenges. Pak Beni outlined the need to develop a package of support that combines both production gains and protection of natural resources. His speech linked jurisdictional certification for palm as an integral part to support the sustainable landscape and green growth plan of the province to create an integrated production-protection strategy at a landscape level: livelihoods, fires, forest protection and suchlike.
The actual implementation requirements and mode of operation of the jurisdictional approach for certification is not yet clear however, and a number of questions for both producers and other supply chain actors remain open. For example, the question on how to maintain HCV/HCS once identified remains unanswered. For a better understanding of these questions and how they might be resolved, IDH arranged a side event for the South Sumatra landscape which brought together more than 30 people from right across the supply chain as well as NGOs and civil society organisations.
It was a valuable opportunity for multiple stakeholders to voice their concerns and expectations. For example, it was great to hear from international buyers such as M&S and PepsiCo clarify their expectations on enforcement and resolution of land conflicts, and hear suggestions from parties such as Rainforest Alliance and ADM Capital on how different components of the supply chain can play a role. To date, the RSPO has been a mainly private sector initiative. However, it is increasingly recognized that industry level change will require involvement and participation of local and national governments, and the jurisdictional approach offers an opportunity for this.
Some key takeaways we took away are: