27 June – Swiss food Group Nestle’s membership in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was suspended 27 June for a breach of the Code of Conduct according to RSPO. The breach was reported to be a failure to submit their Annual Commitment on Progress (ACOP).

Lakeisha Bennett

The RSPO is a body of palm producers, consumer companies, and activist groups which provides sustainability certificates for the industry. Certification of environmentally sound behavior is required by some major palm oil buyers in the West, including major food and consumer goods manufacturers such as Unilever and Mars.

The ACOP should have been used by Nestle to detail how it would ensure the use of certified sustainable palm oil and the progress that it is making in regard to sustainability in its supply chain. RSPO, UN Global Compact and other sustainability frameworks use Commitment on Progress reporting to foster transparency among members and other stakeholders.

This likely will be seen by members and critics alike as a further tightening of the RSPO requirements. In the past, the RSPO has come under some scrutiny by NGOs for failing to prevent the burning and draining of large tracts of peatland and forest. The impacts of irresponsible palm oil production on plant and animal species are also a concern.

Full text of the RSPO announcement is available here.

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