All posts by poigadmin

POIG raises the bar for retailers & Manufacturers members

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) has agreed a new set of indicators for its Retailers & Manufacturers (RM) members, setting our stringent requirements for the procurement of sustainable and responsible palm oil.

The POIG Charter for RM, launched in 2015 , set out the obligation to work towards increasing uptake of POIG verified and RSPO SG palm oil products and to eliminate the use of conventional and certificate-based palm oil. The indicators provide additional guidance and mandate ambition targets and workplans to achieve this. The new indicators also provide guidelines for transparency on suppliers and grievance procedures aligned with best-in-class practice in the industry.

The POIG RM Indicators is an extension of the work the group has been doing since 2013, trialling ways to improve the RSPO P&C. POIG recognises the 2018 P&C as a significant leap forward, and we are now focusing on action to ensure that the implementation of the new P&C is robust and credible, and that the downstream supply chain lives up to their purchasing commitments.

Click here to download the POIG Retailers and Manufacturers Charter Indicators

Southeast Asian palm oil free of deforestation, peatland use or exploitation hits the market

Musim Mas Group is the first Southeast Asian producer to complete verification and demonstrate its proof of concept of responsible palm oil, says Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG)

Singapore – The Musim Mas Group is the first Southeast Asian company to produce palm oil according to the high standards for responsible palm oil established by the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG). The organization announced today Musim Mas’ oil palm plantations have been independently verified against the POIG’s leading criteria for responsible palm oil production. The standards also include ‘No Deforestation, No Peatland Development and No Exploitation’ (NDPE).

“This is a big moment for the palm oil industry. Now, Musim Mas is able to supply POIG-verified oil from its plantations in Asia, alongside leading innovative producers Agropalma and Daabon, which supply POIG-verified oil from South America,” said Elizabeth Clarke, WWF’s Lead on Palm Oil. “Meanwhile we call on palm oil buyers to increase their efforts to procure and use POIG verified oil in their operations.”

The Musim Mas Group first joined POIG in 2015, and worked to gain verification through a rigorous third-party assessment. Based in Singapore, its business operations and activities include every part of the palm oil supply chain. Its verified plantations are in Indonesia producing 700,000 tonnes of POIG verified responsible palm oil, which is a relevant part of its total palm oil processed and traded.

“It demonstrates to buyers that it is possible to produce palm oil that adheres to the highest standards for protecting forests, peatlands, biodiversity and carbon, while also upholding the rights of local communities and workers, and improving livelihoods.” said Annisa Rahmawati, Senior Forests Campaigner with Greenpeace South East Asia.

“It’s important to continue to push for responsible palm oil in the marketplace,” said Stefano Severi, HO Sustainable Palm Oil & Cocoa of Ferrero. “POIG encourages brands, retailers and manufacturers to purchase POIG-verified palm oil. Boycotting palm oil will not solve the problem, and will contribute to enlarging the leakage market – shifting the problem to regions that do not demand sustainable palm oil. Instead of walking away from the problem, palm oil buyers should contribute to solutions on the ground in palm oil producing regions.”

“POIG’s vision is aligned with our goal to realise a credible palm oil supply chain. We made a commitment to work on our third-party supply base in the long term via the POIG Traders and Processors Charter which is being developed,” said Dr Gan Lian Tiong, Director, Musim Mas.

To download this statement, click here.

Elizabeth Clarke, World Wildlife Fund, eclarke(at)
Stefano Severi, Ferrero, stefano.severi(at)
André Gasparini, Agropalma, andre.gasparini(at)
Carolyn Lim, Musim Mas Holdings, carolynwy.lim(at)

The Palm Oil Innovation Group welcomes improvements in the RSPO Standard – Strengthening of underlying systems and robust implementation still needed

The members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) today adopted a newly revised version of production requirements for sustainable palm oil, known as the RSPO Principles & Criteria (P&C). The new P&C is welcomed by the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) as it presents a number of substantive improvements to the certification standard.

In particular, POIG welcomes new and stronger “No Deforestation, No development on Peatlands and No Exploitation” restrictions by the RSPO to prohibit the clearance of forests, including incorporation of the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) , no new development on peatlands, and clearer safeguards for workers, including more rigorous requirements addressing child labour and forced labour, including restrictions on recruitment fees and retention of passports. Provisions have also been strengthened to improve Free, Prior and Informed Consent procedures and to enhance local food security.

The new standard represents a welcome step by the RSPO to move toward alignment with the best practices already established by POIG, a group of progressive producers, NGOs and buyers that has already demonstrated the viability of producing and independently verifying palm oil grown without deforestation, development on peatlands, human rights violations or exploitation of workers.

While POIG recognises the new RSPO P&C as a major step forward, it acknowledges that some but not all of its criticisms of the scheme have been addressed. Namely there are still weaknesses related to:

  • allowing the use of highly toxic, bio-accumulative and persistent pesticides;
  • not prohibiting Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs);
  • the lack of strict standards on working hours and overtime, a cap on precarious labour, and a clear methodology
    to define a decent living wage, and;
  • allowing indirect sourcing of illegally produced oil palm fruit for a full three years.

Additional work is also needed by the newly created No Deforestation Joint Working Group between RSPO and HCSA to define the application of the HCSA in High Forest Cover Landscapes within High Forest Cover Countries.

Meanwhile critical flaws remain in the standard’s assurance systems and complaints mechanism. POIG calls on the RSPO to urgently strengthen its auditing systems and processes so its claims of “certified sustainable palm oil” can be trusted by consumers across the globe. This includes the development of tools and methodologies to ensure the P&C’s robust implementation, such as those related to assessing and managing peatlands, restoring critical peatlands, assessments, audits and complaints, protections for human rights defenders and monitoring of impacts.

Moving forward, POIG will continue to provide independently verified responsible palm oil to the international market, and strengthen its own quality assurance mechanisms by ensuring that third-party auditors are conducting verification assessments to evaluate POIG producer member compliance with the POIG Verification Audit Requirements (VAR) released in July 2018. POIG will develop and test innovations related to implementing the new RSPO P&C, as well as work on innovations that go beyond the new P&C on crucial issues such as the restoration of critical peatlands, and overcoming bottlenecks to the sourcing of POIG verified oil. POIG’s members hope to work in partnership with the RSPO to implement improvements to its audit requirements, including limits to successive audits, the trialing of non-scheduled audits, as well as requirements for strengthened stakeholder interviews and audit team composition and competencies.

POIG calls on all companies involved in the palm oil sector to urgently increase their efforts to honour their commitments to source responsibly produced palm oil using POIG, RSPO and other complementary tools and approaches that provide assurance for No Deforestation, No development on Peatlands and No Exploitation of communities and workers (NDPE) and drive smallholder inclusivity and benefit-sharing. POIG urges all stakeholders to continue to work together to create transparent and responsible supply chains and break the link between palm oil production and the destruction of forests and peatlands, the exploitation of communities and workers, and climate change once and for all.

To download the full statement, click here.

Emma Rae Lierley, Rainforest Action Network, emma(at)
Matthias Diemer, Co-Chair of Palm Oil Innovation Group, Matthias.Diemer(at)
Stefano Severi, Ferrero, stefano.severi(at)
Carolyn Lim, Musim Mas Holdings, carolynwy.lim(at)
Tulio Dias, Agropalma, tuliodias(at)

Proactive participation by Selfridges needed to end deforestation for palm oil

Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) urges Selfridges department store chain to support its efforts to build a more responsible palm oil industry.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), in response to news that Selfridges will carry Iceland’s own-brand mince pies, urges the department store chain to join the other members of POIG in their efforts to break the link between palm oil and deforestation by building a responsible palm oil industry.

Selfridges has recently highlighted its commitment to become completely palm-oil-free by Christmas 2019, in a bid to halt deforestation caused by the palm oil industry.

POIG shares Selfridges’ vision of mitigating the environmental impacts of palm oil production. However, POIG believes palm oil elimination is not a solution for deforestation. POIG cautions the company against eliminating palm oil and therefore isolating itself from collective efforts of many other major retailers and global brands which are engaged in transforming the palm oil industry by demanding improvements in how palm oil is produced.

Only a concerted effort by all concerned stakeholders will transform the situation on the ground where palm oil is produced. That’s why POIG recommends going to the root of the problem by requiring manufacturers of products sold in Selfridges stores to source palm oil that is traceable and verified by a third party as grown without causing deforestation or human rights abuses.

Palm oil can, and should be, produced in a way that rainforests and peatland are not destroyed, while ensuring respect for human rights. POIG is the only multi-stakeholder initiative that sets a credible and verifiable benchmark, building upon the work of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification system. To truly make an impact and show leadership in this sector, companies like Selfridges should join POIG and purchase POIG-verified oil, which is available right now. POIG welcomes Selfridges to join as a member if the company is committed to playing a proactive role in creating transparent and responsible palm oil supply chains.

To download the full statement, click here.

Click here to refer to POIG’s response to Iceland’s decision to ban palm oil in its branded products.

Emma Rae Lierley, Rainforest Action Network (E: emma(at)
Matthias Diemer, Co-Chair of Palm Oil Innovation Group (E: Matthias.Diemer(at)
Carolyn Lim, Musim Mas Holdings (E: carolynwy.lim(at)

Comparative Analysis: RSPO Principles and Criteria and POIG Verification Indicators

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is in the final stages of revising the Principles and Criteria (P&C). As part of the review process, the organisation is gathering a second round of comments from stakeholders before finalising and publishing the revised P&C. The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) and its members have conducted a comparative analysis between the second draft of the RSPO P&C and the POIG Verification Indicators (v. March 2016). An Executive Summary of the comparison results, and a more detailed indicator level analysis document have been developed, and could be used to provide constructive feedback for incorporation in the final RSPO P&C. The Executive Summary also includes some initial observations on the draft of the RSPO Smallholder Standard, which is also currently open for public consultation.

Based on the analysis, the latest RSPO P&C Draft has made some improvement in meeting the standard of responsibility articulated in the POIG Verification Indicators. The analysis also shows that while many RSPO criteria and indicators could be improved to meet the POIG indicators with a few additions, there is still a serious concern around a set of specific issues. It is not known at this point whether the draft RSPO P&C will retain and/or add indicators in its final form that will be compatible with all of the POIG indicators.

To download the Executive Summary of the comparative analysis, click here.

To view the full indicator level analysis document, click here.

Palm Oil Innovation Group Response to RSPO Suspension of Nestlé

Paris, France – The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) acknowledges the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) decision to suspend membership of Nestlé due to breaches of the RSPO Code of Conduct for not submitting a time-bound plan in its annual reports.

The members of the Palm Oil Innovation Group issued the following statement:

“Whilst decisions to hold RSPO members to account are much-needed, the RSPO should focus enforcement efforts on sanctioning non-compliant members destroying forests and committing human rights violations. Major consumers of palm oil such as Nestlé should avoid misleading communications to the market. Instead companies need to invest in the much-needed transformation of the palm oil sector by achieving third-party verification of their supply chains instead of second-party alternatives that lack the independence, oversight and transparency provided by certification systems and the Palm Oil Innovation Group. POIG includes RSPO members and builds upon its standards to produce verified responsible palm oil.” said Gemma Tillack, spokesperson from Rainforest Action Network.

“The Palm Oil Innovation Group and its members have shown that RSPO-certified members can uphold their RSPO membership requirements and go beyond them to address deforestation and the social and environmental impacts of conventional palm oil production.” said Felipe Guerrero, spokesperson from Daabon.

To download the full statement click here.

Leading brands, progressive palm oil producers and NGOs confirm deforestation-free palm oil is available to European market

Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) urges Iceland grocery store chain to join the group, build a more responsible palm oil industry

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), in response to recent news reports of the UK-based grocery store chain Iceland’s decision to ban palm oil in its branded products, confirms that it does now offer deforestation- and exploitation-free palm oil to the global market, and encourages Iceland to join its members in building a truly responsible palm oil industry.

Iceland’s move highlights the palm oil industry’s inability to deliver responsible palm oil, as current palm oil certification schemes have not yet guaranteed palm oil that is deforestation-free, not planted on peat and not produced through the exploitation of workers and communities. To meet the growing demand for a higher standard, POIG formed as a multi-stakeholder forum of global NGOs, consumer goods manufacturers and progressive palm oil companies. The group issued the following responses to the recent news:

“The POIG shares Iceland’s concerns. To address the social and environmental impacts of irresponsible palm oil production, we recommend that retailers and manufactures demand traceable, transparent and third party verified responsible palm oil. Eliminating palm oil is not the solution to deforestation, as this risks simply shifting the problem to other regions,” said Gemma Tillack, Forest Policy Director for Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

“Palm oil can, and should be, produced in a way that that ensures human rights, including the rights of workers and local communities, are respected and palm oil is produced without destroying rainforests and peatlands. The POIG is the only multi-stakeholder initiative that currently demonstrates best practice in the palm oil sector and sets a credible and verifiable benchmark that builds upon the valuable work of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). To truly make an impact and show leadership in the palm oil space, companies like Iceland should join POIG and purchase POIG verified oil, which is available right now,“ said Matthias Diemer, Co-chair of the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG).

“With this decision, Iceland loses the opportunity to actually contribute to the protection of environment and human rights, because isolating themselves from collective efforts will not help to solve palm oil supply chain sustainability issues. Yet, the real impact of such a decision is unknown, since there is no reliable and transparent traceability system in place for alternatives to palm oil,” said Tulio Dias, Corporate Sustainability Manager of Agropalma, a Brazilian palm oil company and founding member of POIG.

“Additionally, due to vastly inferior yields, alternatives to palm oil may present increased threats to ecosystems and biodiversity,” said Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of Orangutan Land Trust.

“Only a concerted effort by all concerned stakeholders will transform the situation on the ground where palm oil is produced. We firmly believe that only proactive engagement will yield practical results,” said Laura Roth, Sustainability Manager, Americas of Barry Callebaut.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) would welcome Iceland to join as a member if the company was committed to playing a proactive role in creating transparent and responsible supply chains and breaking the link between palm oil production and the destruction of forests and peatlands, the exploitation of communities and workers, and climate change.

To download the full statement, click here.

Emma Rae Lierley, Rainforest Action Network, emma(at), +1 425 281 1989
Matthias Diemer, Co-Chair of Palm Oil Innovation Group, Matthias.Diemer(at)
Tulio Dias, Agropalma, tuliodias(at)

Notification: upcoming POIG Verification Indicator assessment of Musim Mas RSPO certified mills in Indonesia

In line with its ongoing commitment as a member of the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), Musim Mas Group is announcing its next evaluation of conformance with the POIG Charter and Verification Indicators (v. March 2016), which will take place between February and April 2018. The assessment will be conducted by the Rainforest Alliance and will cover ten of Musim Mas Group’s Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified mills in Indonesia.

The evaluation will be carried out through the assessment of four mills, which have been selected as a sample based on the Rainforest Alliance risk assessment, which considers geographical
distribution, type and number of supply bases of the ten mills included in the evaluation scope. The four selected mills are:

  • PT Berkat Sawit Sejati located in Desa Tampang Baru, Kecamatan Bayung Lencir, Kabupaten Musi Banyuasin, Propinsi Sumatera Selatan, Indonesia;
  • PT Unggul Lestari located in Desa Tumbang Sepayang, Kecamatan Antang Kalang, Kabupaten Kotawaringin Timur, Propinsi Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia;
  • PT Maju Aneka Sawit located in Desa Tanah Putih, Kecamatan Telawang, Kabupaten Kotawaringin Timur, Propinsi Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia; and
  • PT Siringo-Ringo located in Jl. Siringo Ringo, Desa Bandar Kumbul, Kecamatan Bilah Barat, Kabupaten Labuhan Batu, Rantau Prapat, Propinsi Sumatera Utara, Indonesia.

As part of the POIG evaluation process, the Rainforest Alliance is inviting stakeholders to offer comments and feedback on Musim Mas Group in relation to conformance with the requirements of
the POIG verification indicators. Stakeholder consultations will be held for each of the four mills undergoing assessment. The first consultation will be conducted for PT Berkat Sawit Sejati at 10am local time on 7 February 2018 at the PT Berkat Sawit Sejati office in Desa Tampang Baru. Feedback may also be submitted to the Rainforest Alliance prior to consultation dates, and at any stage of the assessment process, preferably before 9 March 2018. The schedule for the stakeholder consultation for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th mill assessment will be posted in the Rainforest Alliance website one month prior to the field visit date.

For more information on the assessment, as well as details on how to participate in the upcoming consultations, please click on the following link to view the assessment notification on the Rainforest Alliance website:

POIG Traders & Processors Charter released

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) is pleased to announce the release of the POIG Charter for Traders and Processors last week on the 27th of November 2017. Following the Charter’s launch, POIG membership is now open to another critical part of the palm oil supply chain, and we welcome all new applicants under this membership category.

Further information on membership and application requirements can be accessed here, or requested by contacting the POIG Secretariat at

POIG Pushes for Stronger Labour Rights Assessments and Auditing Procedures at RSPO Annual Meeting

Paper commissioned by WWF examines factors reducing effectiveness of certification schemes, makes suggestions for improvements, while POIG member Musim Mas issues industry’s first comprehensive labour assessment

Bali, Indonesia – The last four years of annual meetings of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) have included escalating recognition of the urgent need to address systemic labour violations facing the palm oil sector’s millions of workers. At this year’s meeting, underway in Bali, the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) offers the most broadly endorsed proposals yet for improving the effectiveness of existing certification systems. At the same time, POIG member and major palm oil producer Musim Mas has set a new bar for its peers with the publication of the Indonesian palm oil industry’s first comprehensive, independent labour compliance assessment.

“POIG members are leading the way in identifying and demonstrating the innovations needed to strengthen assurance systems for the palm oil industry,” said Robin Averbeck, Agribusiness Campaign Director with Rainforest Action Network. “Legitimate assessments of labour conditions are critically needed and Musim Mas’ recent assessment and corrective action plan now sets a new standard of best practice for the sector.”

The new WWF-commissioned study Innovating Assurance presents a set of recommendations for the RSPO to adopt to improve the quality of assurance systems used to independently verify member’s compliance with its standard. Key innovations include the setup of an escrow fund, increased transparency and limits of successive audits by the same auditors and certifying bodies.

“The Palm Oil Innovation Group has shown that you can improve assurance systems through innovation. The WWF commissioned paper recommends that the RSPO strengthen its systems, including through the establishment of an escrow fund to increase the objectivity and integrity of audits, and delinking the financial dependency of certification bodies from their clients, and trialing unannounced audits.” Matthias Diemer spokesperson for WWF and co-chair of the Palm Oil Innovation Group.

The paper Innovating Assurance recommends the following measures:

  • Tightening the standard
  • Increasing the transparency of individual audit reports
  • Limiting the number of successive audits by the same lead auditors and certification bodies
  • Utilising risk-based approaches as part of the audit process
  • Improving the complaints systems associated with the standards
  • Better training of auditors
  • Removing the direct link between certification bodies and their customers
  • Separating monitoring of member progress from auditing

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) endorses these suggestions, and has already taken a number of them on board in order to improve verification of member progress against the POIG Charter, when it was considered feasible to do so. They are reflected in the revisions of the POIG Charter Verification Indicators used to verify compliance by its grower members Agropalma, DAABON and Musim Mas and POIG’s Auditing Guidelines currently being finalised.

Verité carried out the Musim Mas assessment in three mills and eight estates in Central Kalimantan and Riau, Indonesia. The assessment aimed to identify risks of non-conformance to POIG’s Charter, RSPO Principles and Criteria, Verité Best Practice Standards and other international norms on worker protection and Occupational Health and Safety. They also targeted to determine the areas of innovation required.

“As the first major Southeast Asian palm oil producer to join POIG, Musim Mas opened its doors to a comprehensive labour assessment as part of its commitment to improving the welfare of its workforce – the very people on whom its business bottom line depends on. Hopefully, this will set a precedence for the wider industry to greater introspection on labour conditions, and enact changes essential for the de-linking of labour issues from the palm oil industry, and work towards verified and responsible production.” said Petra Meekers, Director for CSR and Sustainable Development with Musim Mas.

The field assessments were conducted over nine days and involved in-depth interviews with 123 non-management workers without the presence of management personnel. The auditors also carried out a documentary review of personnel files, pay records and time records and site inspections, as well as interviews with management representatives, unions and smallholder cooperative. The audit and findings in the mill and estates are categorised into three broad categories, namely, labour and human rights, compensation and hours, as well as health and safety.

In the one-year period since the assessment leading up to the publication of the report today, the Group has reviewed the gaps in the highlighted areas and worked to address highlighted issues, enabling case closure in most aspects. Musim Mas is still working on other matters requiring lengthier consideration in addition to finalizing the full independent verification of its operations against the POIG Charter.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group has submitted its POIG Charter to the RSPO’s P&C Review Task Force leading the current review of its certification standard in the hope that its additional requirements to achieve No Deforestation, No Peatland and No Exploitation will be incorporated into the revised standard for all members in November 2018. The group also continues to develop innovations that aim to overcome other challenges facing the palm oil sector. One major concern is the drainage-based use of huge tracks of peatland by the palm oil sector. Cultivation of oil palm on peat is not viable in the long term as it leads to huge greenhouse gas emissions, elevates fire-threat, subsidence and ultimately, flooding and loss of productivity. POIG has established a working group that aims to share results from sustainable peatland management pilots amongst growers and landscape-based approaches for peatland rewetting and fire prevention. It is hoped that dialogue, involving all stakeholders in the landscape and downstream industries, will enable development of realistic solutions, including opportunities in Indonesia to support just transitions to wet agriculture or ‘paludicuture’ on rewetted peatlands.

POIG’s members in Brazil and Columbia continue to set benchmarks for responsible palm oil in Latin America. In Brazil, Agropalma is investing in education and in an apprenticeship program that also aims to promote gender equity. In Colombia DAABON is focusing on pilots to diversify income for palm oil producers and programmes to support peace in schools and amongst families.

To download the full statement, click here.

To download POIG’s response brief on the WWF-commissioned study on Innovating Assurance, click here.