RT15 Bali 28-30 November 2017

Category: News Published: Tuesday, 19 December 2017

This was an eventful RoundTable with the possibility of Mount Agung erupting since 22/9/17. In particular Bali Airport Denpasar started to close from 7am on 27/11 preventing many participants from arriving. This left the 477 participants (as reported by RSPO) who had arrived earlier wondering when they could leave with a number evacuating to Surabaya by ferry and overland. The first day of the conference was cancelled and the subsequent days proceeded with a modified programme as a number of speakers and panelists were unable to attend.

At the RT the release of the 2017 Impact Report was announced. Here we saw that total CSPO sales in 2016 had decreased to 5,632,731 MT, down by 549,963 MT from 2015.  At RT 14 we heard the oil palm growers co-chair of RSPO, Dato’ Carl Bek-Nielsen in his welcome address hitting out at RSPO members who were using the “no palm oil” label on their products. We were looking forward to the consumer goods manufacturers co-chair of RSPO, Biswaranjan Sen of Unilever, deliver his welcome address and touching on the decrease in sales. Unfortunately he was one of the speakers who could not make it.

This left the CEO of RSPO, Datuk Darrel Webber, to welcome participants. He said, “We must realise that to have real and long lasting change, we need to include everyone and start by helping them to become above average. We need to allow for change, transformation, and conversion and cannot expect that those who are at the start of their sustainability journey should become superstars overnight” in line with the conference theme of Inclusivity and Accountability.

During a panel discussion No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation members remarked that NO is negative and should be replaced by a positive connotation. Dr Simon Lord of Sime Darby observed that RSPO had plateaued and said, “It’s not about beyond certification. It’s about certification and beyond” indicating there is a lot more work ahead for RSPO to get to its vision.

RSPO recognised DAABON Group and United Plantations for achieving RSPO NEXT certifications, with DAABON Group being the first in the world to achieve RSPO NEXT earlier this year; and United Plantations being the first Malaysian grower and first in the region.

RSPO’s General Assembly GA 14 saw many casting their E-votes and only 4 out of 9 resolutions were approved reflecting perhaps a more representative voice of members.

Bali Airport Denpasar reopened at 3pm on 29/11 much to the relief of participants and they were able to leave once the conference ended the next day.

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