RSPO Celebrates 20 Years of Impact and Reaffirms the Power of Partnerships for the Next 20

Collective action and innovative practices sowed within the industry are reaping results, with RSPO global certification, membership, production and consumption volumes steadily on the rise, alongside greater environmental stewardship

Opening Speech

RSPO Chief Executive Officer delivering the opening speech at RSPO RT2023

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Nov. 21, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil marked a special milestone at its Annual Roundtable conference (RT2023), themed “Partners for the Next 20”, to reflect on nearly two decades of impact made possible through the collaborative efforts of RSPO’s Members and partners. RT2023 presented an opportunity to take unified action on the core challenges facing the sustainable palm oil industry, including mitigating climate change, increasing uptake of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), protecting labour rights, and facilitating greater smallholder inclusion in green supply chains through compliance with emerging international regulations.

For nearly twenty years, the RSPO has facilitated global change to make the production and consumption of palm oil sustainable. Starting from 200 members from 16 countries in 2004, RSPO now counts more than 5,700 members in over 100 countries and territories spanning the globe.

In his opening remarks, RSPO CEO Joseph D’Cruz said, “Through nearly two decades of voluntary action, RSPO Members have banded together to raise the bars of sustainability within the industry. The impact we have collectively achieved is increasingly being acknowledged by stakeholders outside our industry, and we are seeing a definite shift in the sustainable palm oil narrative in our favour. As a global partnership to make palm oil sustainable, we must ride this trajectory and continue to evolve and pursue new territory. There is room now for us to move beyond a standard and certification system and develop tools that would enable the industry to demonstrate sustainability in the way that markets, regulators and customers demand today.”

Opening Speech

RSPO Chief Executive Officer delivering the opening speech at RSPO RT2023

RSPO’s key achievements over the last two decades were highlighted, including the increase in global certified area from just 125,000 hectares in 2008 to 4.9 million hectares across 23 countries in 2023. Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) supply reached a new milestone at 15.4 million metric tonnes, while RSPO Trademark licences have increased significantly to more than 1,600 licences in over 100 countries and territories, with growth seen in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, signalling significant opportunities in these markets. The RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF) has provided US$4.2 million in funding to support 44,203 farmers in 12 countries since 2013. Accounting for 40% of total palm oil production output in key producing countries, smallholders featured strongly at RT2023, focused on opportunities and pathways to facilitate greater inclusion in green supply chains through compliance with emerging international regulations.

Independent Smallholders

Group photo of Independent Smallholders with their certificates

Charting new territory, RSPO’s Certification, Trade and Traceability System (CTTS), launched recently in October 2023 with the formation of the tripartite consortium of global agri-tech experts, exemplifies how the organisation is advancing and digitising its tracking and traceability systems into an end-to-end digital infrastructure. This is rooted by best-in-class solutions that will be able to meet current demands and anticipate the future needs of a sector that is rapidly evolving to meet tightening global regulations, starting with the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), and is actively engaging with the European Commission for knowledge-sharing on this topic with all relevant parties.

Excellence Awards

Winners of the Excellence Awards from left to right: DSN Group, Bumitama Agri Ltd, Musim Mas, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, WWF International

Anne Rosenbarger and José Roberto Montenegro, Co-Chairs of the RSPO Board of Governors, together called for the successes of the past 20 years to be leveraged and scaled further through collective action and innovative approaches. “RSPO is strategically evolving to meet current and forthcoming challenges, including shifting regulatory and market expectations, by improving the auditability and implementability of our current standards and Assurance systems in order to be ready to connect to the broader industry’s sustainability platforms,” said Anne Rosenbarger. Following a comprehensive and highly consultative review of its current 2018 RSPO Principles and Criteria and 2019 RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard, a technical revision process is underway to produce a revised set of standards in 2024.

Opening performance

Opening performance at the RSPO RT2023 opening ceremony

The conference also featured the RSPO Excellence Awards, which saw fifteen of its Members nominated for their outstanding contributions to sustainable palm oil. The winners were DSN Group for Innovation; Bumitama Agri Ltd. for Conservation Leadership; Musim Mas for Smallholder Impact; Cheyenne Mountain Zoo for Communicating for Good, and WWF International for Shared Responsibility. Learn more about the winners, nominees and their award-worthy initiatives here.

About RSPO:
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a global partnership to make palm oil sustainable. Formed in 2004, the RSPO is a multi-stakeholder non-profit organisation that unites members from across the palm oil value chain, including oil palm producers, palm oil processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks, and investors, environmental or nature conservation non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and social or developmental NGOs. As a partnership for progress and positive impact, the RSPO facilitates global change to make the production and consumption of palm oil sustainable. To inspire change, we communicate the environmental and social benefits. To make progress, we catalyse collaboration. To provide assurance, we set the standards of certification. The RSPO is registered as an international association in Zurich, Switzerland, with main offices in Malaysia and Indonesia, and offices in China, Colombia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States. For further information, kindly contact:

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:

For further information, kindly contact:

Kimasha Williams
Communications Manager Europe

Stephanie Ambrose
Communications Manager APAC

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