All posts by Admin

Amid EU Palm Oil Bill Debate, New Members Join Leading Initiative to Reform Palm Oil Industry

The Palm Oil Innovation Group welcomes major global companies L’Oréal and Barry Callebaut

London – Today, the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) announced that global companies L’Oréal and Barry Callebaut are the newest members of the leading initiative for responsibly produced palm oil. These companies join others in POIG that have committed to stepping up efforts to drive the much-needed transformation of the palm oil sector. The announcement follows increasing debate on what single ‘No Deforestation’ and ‘No Exploitation’ standard will be adopted by the EU following the successful passage of the palm oil resolution in April 2017. Members of Parliament overwhelmingly voted in support of the introduction of a single certification scheme that will ensure all palm oil entering the EU market is not tied to deforestation or human rights violations.

Matthias Diemer, the Co-chair of the Palm Oil Innovation Group issued the following statement during the annual European meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO):

“The Palm Oil Innovation Group welcomes the commitment by L’Oréal and Barry Callebaut to innovate and join the ranks of the most responsible companies in the palm oil supply chain.”

“These new members will continue to support the transformation of the palm oil sector by demonstrating innovation to implement RSPO existing standards as well as additional critical requirements, such as ending deforestation, the development of peatlands and gross labour and human rights violations.”

L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, and Switzerland-based Barry Callebaut, the global leading supplier of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, have joined existing POIG members like Ferrero and Danone in their commitments to drive truly responsible palm oil production.

“With more innovators joining forces under POIG, we move closer to achieving POIG’s vision: a responsible supply chain that has broken the link between palm oil production and the destruction of forests and peatlands, the exploitation of communities and workers, and climate change,” concluded co-chair Matthias.

POIG was recently recognised by the European Parliament as a strong standard for responsible palm oil production. The EU palm oil resolution presents a great opportunity for RSPO and POIG members, especially at a time when the RSPO is considering strengthening its standards to incorporate no deforestation and no exploitation requirements outlined in the POIG Charter. The initiative was founded by Agropalma, DAABON, Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) in 2014 and remains the initiative that sets the highest benchmark for independently verified and truly responsible palm oil.

To download the full statement, click here.

Announcing new POIG members and ongoing applications

POIG is committed to supporting the expansion of available responsibly produced palm oil, as well as exploring ways to increase the market demand for palm oil products produced by innovative growers within the industry. The largest piece of the work required to accomplish these goals undoubtedly rests on our members—through their adherence to the POIG Charter, but also through the additional activities they carry out that break barriers and move above and beyond the bare minimum industry standards.

POIG is growing both membership and its capacity to address key issues in the palm oil sector. With more innovators joining forces under POIG, we move closer to achieving POIG’s vision: a responsible supply chain that has broken the link between palm oil production and the destruction of forests and peatlands, the exploitation of communities and workers, and climate change.

Retailers & Manufacturers: leading brands L’Oréal and Barry Callebaut join POIG

The POIG Retailer & Manufacturer membership category was set up in November 2015. The membership category came to a running start with leading brands like Ferrero, Danone, Stephenson Personal Care and Boulder Brands having joined POIG. We are now pleased to announce that two more progressive companies have joined POIG in recent months:

  • In December 2016, we welcomed L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, to POIG’s membership.
  • In March 2017, Barry Callebaut, the global leading supplier of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, based in Switzerland joined POIG.

POIG is confident that both L’Oréal and Barry Callebaut are committed to driving the transformation to make responsible palm oil the norm.

Expanding the supply-base of responsibly produced palm oil: announcing Sime Darby’s application to POIG

In November 2015, we welcomed our third grower member, Musim Mas, the first major Southeast Asian oil palm producer to join POIG. Musim Mas has completed an independent labour compliance assessment that will soon be published, and is working towards a full independent verification of its operations against the POIG Charter. Since then, another milestone has taken place: Sime Darby Plantations, the world’s largest producer of certified sustainable palm oil, submitted their membership application to POIG. Their application has been undergoing review in 2017. If accepted to POIG, Sime Darby will be the first Malaysian palm oil giant to commit to the POIG Charter, including its innovations on tackling pressing labour issues that have led to growing concerns amongst consumers of palm oil.

POIG Traders & Processors: new membership category open soon

After several months under development, the POIG Traders & Processors Charter is nearing finalisation, and is expected to be released in the coming months. Once launched, POIG membership will be open to another critical part of the palm oil supply chain, and we welcome all new applicants that fall under the definition of this membership category.

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

Palm Oil Innovation Group Responds To Amnesty International Palm Oil Report

New report on labour rights violations shows critical need for stronger protection of workers in conventional palm oil industry

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) welcomes the recent release of a report by Amnesty International exposing shocking labour violations – including children as young as 8 engaged in work that is hazardous to their health – in the palm oil sector. Two of the five Indonesian growers investigated for the report are owned and operated by palm oil giant Wilmar and have been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

This report adds to a growing body of evidence that brings to light critical issues, such as forced and child labour, human trafficking, low wages and poor working conditions, facing large numbers of workers on plantations across Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group Charter strictly prohibits child labour, forced labour, and other violations profiled in Amnesty’s report. A major strength of the Palm Oil Innovation Group is that its grower members are required to achieve third party verification of compliance with high labour standards aligned with the ILO and Free and Fair Labor in Palm Oil Production Principles.

POIG recently released a publication titled Palm Oil Innovations: Labour Rights which highlighted innovative labour practices that have been implemented by three POIG members on their plantations. These innovations should be incorporated into the existing RSPO Principles and Criteria to uphold workers’ rights and break the link between palm oil and labour exploitation. Key recommendations include:

  • Paying a decent living wage, as agreed through meaningful collective bargaining agreements with independent unions;
  • No fees or costs are charged to workers, directly or indirectly, for recruitment or employment services;
  • No retention of passports, other government­ issued identification and any personal valuables;
  • Limiting precarious work by ensuring that casual, temporary and day labour is limited to jobs that are genuinely temporary or seasonal, and account for no more than 20% of the workforce;
  • Providing access to accessible, equitable and legitimate grievance mechanisms.

All actors in the palm oil industry, including major brands and retailers sourcing palm oil, must respond to the growing body of evidence of labour exploitation with comprehensive improvements to procurement policies and practices. Responsible brands and retailers must seek suppliers who have committed to and implemented additional steps to ensure workers enjoy their fundamental human rights.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group is a multi-­stakeholder initiative that strives to achieve the adoption of responsible palm oil production practices by key players in the supply chain through developing and sharing a credible and verifiable benchmark that builds upon the RSPO, and creating and promoting innovations.

The Palm Oil Innovations: Labour Rights publication can be downloaded, here.

To download the statement click here.

Palm Oil Innovation Group Presents Leading Labour Practices to Uphold Workers’ Rights

New publication on labour rights comes at critical time as growing body of research highlights widespread labour rights issues in conventional palm oil industry.

Today, the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) released a publication titled, “Palm Oil Innovations: Labour Rights” on the heels of the 14th annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Bangkok, Thailand which highlighted worker exploitation issues in the palm oil sector.

This publication—the first in a series from POIG—highlights some of the innovations being implemented by POIG members with respect to labour practices. It builds upon the group’s work to define and independently verify fair labour conditions for workers on palm oil plantations using its Palm Oil Charter and associated verification indicators.

A growing body of evidence on palm oil labour brings to light critical issues such as forced and child labour, human trafficking, low wages and poor working conditions for a large number of workers on plantations across Indonesia and Malaysia. The publication presents improvements that can be put into practice by palm oil producers and the RSPO to uphold workers’ rights and break the link between palm oil and labour exploitation.

Key recommendations include:

  • Paying a decent living wage, as agreed through the participation of workers and independent unions;
  • No fees or costs are charged to workers, directly or indirectly, for recruitment or employment services;
  • No retention of passports, other government¬ issued identification and any personal valuables;
  • Limiting precarious work by ensuring that casual, temporary and day labour is limited to jobs that are genuinely temporary or seasonal, and account for no more than 20% of the workforce;
  • Providing access to accessible, equitable and legitimate grievance mechanisms.

A major strength of the Palm Oil Innovation Group is that its grower members have completed, or are currently undergoing, third party assessments of their compliance with requirements to halt deforestation, development on peatlands and the exploitation of communities or workers’ rights. It is an open forum and new members are encouraged to apply.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group is a multi-stakeholder initiative that strives to achieve the adoption of responsible palm oil production practices by key players in the supply chain through developing and sharing a credible and verifiable benchmark that builds upon the RSPO, and creating and promoting innovations.

The Palm Oil Innovations: Labour Rights publication can be downloaded here.

To download the statement click here.

Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) acknowledges the Palm Oil Innovation Group’s role in advancing responsible palm oil in Montpellier Declaration

The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) held its 53rd annual meeting in Montpellier, France, on 19 – 23 June 2016. The event gathered together 751 scientists and conservationists from 54 nations, marking the largest meeting of tropical biologists ever in Europe.

One main outcome from the meeting is the Montpellier Declaration, a statement which acknowledges and commends recent developments towards responsible palm oil production, including the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG). POIG was mentioned as one of the main examples of collaboration between environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), palm oil producing companies, and buyers of palm oil. The document states that such collaborations have, “…led to an attitudinal shift towards sustainable oil palm plantation management”. The statement further highlights that joint efforts between European companies and NGOs have been critical to advancing the responsible palm oil agenda.

Equally significant, is the set of recommendations provided in the Declaration relating to the advancement of responsible palm oil. The recommendations are put forward in recognition of the important role the European consumer market plays, as well as the challenges that remain. One of the challenges mentioned, for example, relates to the gap between the successes in promoting and increasing the supply of responsible palm oil production, and the commitments of consumer companies to exclusively source responsible palm oil.

The stakeholders and stakeholder groups towards which the recommendations are addressed include: the European Union (EU), European Governments, EU financial institutions, and European retail and manufacturer sectors.

To view the recommendations, as well as the full statement, please download the Montpellier Declaration here.

Innovation Group Delivers a Leap Forward In Efforts To Transform the Palm Oil Industry

Jakarta, Indonesia – Today, the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), a leading initiative to transform the palm oil industry, has released a new, robust and field-tested set of verification indicators that will drive much-needed change in the industry. The POIG Charter is already being used by leaders in the palm oil sector to break the link between palm oil, the destruction of forests and peatlands, and the violation of human and labour rights.

The POIG verification indicators will be used by independent third parties to determine if a palm oil company is protecting forests and peatlands that have high biodiversity, carbon and social values, while simultaneously upholding the rights of local communities and workers, and improving livelihoods for local communities. The indicators have been field tested by three palm oil growers who are founding members of POIG, in Brazil, Colombia and Papua New Guinea, and it will soon be put into practice in Indonesia.

“We have shown that it is possible to grow palm oil responsibly and that our claims can be tested and verified in the field by independent third-parties in a cost-effective manner. This is important as consumers want to know that the ingredients in the products they use have been grown to the highest environmental and social standards possible,” said Tulio Dias Brito, Agropalma.

“Today marks a leap forward in our efforts to transform the palm oil sector. We have developed the first field-tested verification tool that can be used by global brands to third-party verify their suppliers’ compliance with the Palm Oil Innovation Group Charter,” said Annisa Rahmawati, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) remains the gold standard for the production of responsible palm oil. It builds upon other certification systems, such as the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, and tackles some of the most challenging issues facing the palm oil sector, such as the destruction of high carbon stock forests and the abuse of the most vulnerable workers,” said Matthias Diemer, Chair of the Palm Oil Innovation Group.

“The time has come for other palm oil producers, traders, retailers and manufacturers to demand, and scale up their efforts to produce truly responsible palm oil that is in line with the leading POIG Charter,” concluded Robin Averbeck, Rainforest Action Network.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) is a collective of progressive palm oil companies and brands together with environmental and social NGOs that are working to build on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil standards and commitments by both demonstrating innovation to implement RSPO existing standards as well as additional critical issues. For more information visit www.poig.org

The Palm Oil Innovation Group Charter, verification indicators, and summary of the public consultation can be reviewed here.

To download the statement, click here.

Palm Oil Innovation Group Announces New Members, Leads Change from Plantations in Indonesia to Supermarket Shelves Across the Globe

Indonesian palm oil giant Musim Mas and major global brands join leading initiative to reform palm oil industry

Amidst an environmental and human health crisis resulting from the forest fires in Indonesia, key players have gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Marking the occasion, the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), an initiative to reform the palm oil industry, is announcing new POIG members that are committing to drive much-needed transformation in the palm oil sector.

Leading brands like Ferrero, Danone, Stephenson and Boulder Brands and Indonesian palm oil giant Musim Mas Group, have recently joined innovative growers Agropalma and DAABON, along with international NGOs including Greenpeace, WWF, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), to build upon the RSPO standards and commitments. These new members seek to establish new business practices in the palm oil industry that end deforestation, the burning and development of peatlands and gross labor and human rights violations.

Musim Mas is the first major Southeast Asian palm oil company to join POIG; with over 200,000 hectares of plantations and a primary role in global palm oil trade, it is well placed to create needed change in the palm oil supply chain. Musim Mas is committing to implement the POIG charter across its entire supply chain, and will test new innovations and advocate for these improvements to become business norms in palm oil production.

“The Palm Oil Innovation Group welcomes the commitment by Musim Mas, Ferrero, Danone, Stephenson and Boulder Brands to innovate and join the ranks of the most responsible companies in the palm oil supply chain,” says Matthias Diemer, the co-chair of the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG).

At a time of increased global pressure to improve the palm oil industry and during deliberations on the adoption of the RSPO’s voluntary scheme, RSPO Next, POIG is growing both membership and its capacity to address key issues in the palm oil sector. POIG remains the only initiative that is able to deliver independently verified and truly responsible palm oil, produced by companies whose practices go beyond the requirements of the RSPO.

The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) is a collective of progressive palm oil companies and brands together with environmental and social NGOs that are working to push the boundaries of current requirements of the RSPO. POIG aims to support the RSPO through building on RSPO standards and commitments by both demonstrating innovation to implement RSPO existing standards as well as additional critical issues. www.poig.org

To download the statement, click here.

Palm Oil Innovation Group Brings to Market Third Party Verified Responsible Palm Oil

Audits against POIG pilot indicators carried out on three founding growers’ plantations

Amidst the growing debate on responsible palm oil production, three leading palm oil producers have sought to demonstrate what is possible. Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) grower members Agropalma and DAABON as well as founding member New Britain Palm Oil[1] successfully carried out verification audits to the POIG Charter requirements and pilot indicators, which outline robust requirements for verifying that palm oil is not linked to deforestation, expansion on peatlands, and human and labour rights violations.

The purpose of the audits was to assess compliance of the producers with the POIG Charter as well as trial the pilot indicators, and the audits were successful in both aims. All three companies – Agropalma, DAABON, and New Britain Palm Oil – were found to be aligned to the POIG Charter as there were no critical non-compliances with the pilot indicators, and the feedback from audits has been integrated into a formal indicator revision process. The revised indicators are now available for public consultation until 4 September 2015.

As a growing number of companies throughout the supply chain commit to decouple their palm oil production, consumption, and trading from deforestation, from expansion on carbon-rich peatlands, and from human and labour rights violations, POIG is the only avenue for third-party verification of those requirements to date. The POIG Charter and indicators build on the existing RSPO standards, and have now reached the next step of demonstrating that verified compliance with POIG standards is possible.  Our challenge to the RSPO is for it to adopt these innovations into its own standards and auditing procedures.

“With POIG 3rd party verification, for the first time there is now the chance to source responsible palm oil that we know doesn’t come from deforestation, peatland clearance, or exploitation. This move by POIG gives the option to the many major consumer brands and retailers that have made strong commitments to end deforestation and exploitation to use credible palm supply chains to source directly from POIG verified producers. This is a huge step forward in the quest to transform the palm oil industry” said Grant Rosoman from Greenpeace.

[1] New Britain Palm Oil is a founding member of the Palm Oil Innovation Group, and carried out a successful verification audit against the POIG Charter requirements and pilot indicators in October 2014. In February 2015 NBPOL was acquired by Sime Darby Bhd, and POIG is hopeful that Sime Darby will embrace the responsible palm oil innovations demonstrated by NBPOL by applying to join POIG itself.

To download the statement click here.

For further reference, the revised POIG Charter indicators, the Verification Reports, and Producer Innovations Profiles are available here.