National certification: a piece of the puzzle in reducing primary forest loss?
16 April 2022, FoodNavigator published an article written by EPOA in cooperation with the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) on the role of national certification schemes in reducing primary forest loss.
While global deforestation rates increase at an alarming rate, progress in Southeast Asia offers a bright spot. According to Chain Reaction Research, palm oil driven deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea ‘has fallen to its lowest level since 2017’. This downward trend has even persisted despite the high prices for palm oil, a commodity often linked to deforestation in Southeast Asia.
Factors that contribute
Since 2017, the World Resources Institute has been reporting declining numbers in primary forest loss in Indonesia and Malaysia. In 2020, both countries accounted for 83.3% of the global production of palm oil in Southeast Asia. Experts mention different factors that have played a vital role in the decline of the deforestation rates, including: strengthened law enforcement to prevent forest fires and land clearing, moratoria on forest and peatland conversion, No Deforestation, No Peat and No exploitation (NDPE) policies from companies, (national) certification schemes, and civil society organization and activist campaigns for deforestation-free palm oil.
Consumer markets like Europe have also increased their demand for deforestation-free palm oil. In 2020, 90% of the palm oil entering Europe for food, feed, and oleochemicals was sustainably certified under the Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). This multi-stakeholder initiative has developed a set of environmental and social criteria, which companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). Next to the international voluntary schemes, Indonesia and Malaysia have introduced national schemes with sustainability standards for the production of palm oil.
A role to play
While the principles and criteria of both standards are differently structured, they cover similar sets of general themes: legality, environmental responsibilities, social responsibilities and business practices. Both schemes use national existing laws and regulations to enforce the standards on companies with corresponding penalties or marketing sanctions. ISPO and MSPO are schemes that exist alongside international voluntary schemes such as RSPO, ISCC, and IPOS. In addition, ISPO and MPSO are included in the Global Framework of Principles for Sustainable Palm Oil (GFP-SPO), which has been launched by the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC). This framework aims to create a common language across the different certification schemes used in the palm oil sector with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as its benchmark.
Read the full article here.