RSPO Delays Greenhouse Gas Criteria for Industry

THE Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has delayed its greenhouse gas (GHG) criteria for the industry until its new working group comes up with the methodology in a year, president Dr Jan-Kees Vis (picture) said.

“Unlike the other requirements under the Principles and Criteria in the RSPO Certification scheme, the GHG criteria will be a voluntary element,” he said on the sidelines of the Seventh RSPO meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“I’m not sure how we are going to work this out in technical terms. Also, the other question it creates is whether there will be two certifications,” he added.

The RSPO board, which met on Sunday, discussed the stalemate by the current working group on greenhouse gases.

The Indonesian association of palm oil companies (Gapki) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) had expressed their unhappiness with the mandatory criteria.

The GHG will be required to meet the demands of the European biofuel programme (feedstock used) and carbon accounting.

Although disappointed with the decision of the growers, Vis said he understood their position as it mirrored that of soyabean growers in Brazil.

As of now, the technical recommendations on running operations will be implemented on a voluntary basis.

“GHG associated with land use change will be looked at by the senior members of the working group and they will come up with a list of recommendations a year from now.”

Vis added that there were some large South American and African companies which understood the urgency of addressing climate change and would implement all the recommendations of the current working group.

He also noted that the RSPO had come up with a certification a lot faster than the time taken to develop and implement certification for some crops that stretched 25 years.

A total of 1.4 million tonnes of crude palm oil have been certified, 20 per cent of which has been sold as certified.

Vis said that more far-reaching agreements were needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the climate summit in Copenhagen next month and the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012.

Environment group WWF International, one of the RSPO stakeholders, said it expected demand for certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) to improve in three years.

Its senior quality officer (food and agriculture) Adam Harrison cited growing optimism of the oil palm planters as a reason.

Source : Business Times by Ropa Damodaran

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