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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.

First American Food Company Adopts Truly Responsible Palm Oil Commitment

Palm Oil Innovation Group welcomes Boulder Brands Palm Oil Announcement

An alliance of international NGOs and palm oil companies today welcomed the adoption of a leading palm oil commitment by Boulder Brands.

Boulder Brands is the first American food company to require its suppliers to independently verify their compliance with the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG). Its commitment requires its suppliers to break the link between palm oil production and deforestation by protecting and restoring natural forests, and upholding human rights and the rights of all workers.

“Today, Boulder Brands has put its weight behind an exciting and innovative transformation of the palm oil sector. Through their strict sourcing guidelines and support of the Palm Oil Innovation Group they are now taking a pivotal role in driving a move towards responsible palm oil” says Gemma Tillack, spokesperson for Rainforest Action Network.

POIG is finding innovative ways to build on the current Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards to halt deforestation, respect rights, resolve conflict and ensure greater traceability from plantations to products found on grocery store shelves.

“Growing concern amongst consumers and consumer goods manufacturing companies for the impact of conventional palm oil production on the rainforests, carbon rich peatlands, and local communities and workers shows a pressing need for the palm oil industry to innovate and meet the new global benchmark for responsible palm oil” says Felipe Guerrero from DAABON Organic.

Boulder Brands was the first food manufacturer to join the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) that seeks to break the link between palm oil and deforestation, social conflict and carbon emissions. Other supporters include Ferrero, REWE, EDEKA, Tesco and Stephenson Personal Care.

For media comment contact representatives of the Palm Oil Innovation Group:

Gemma Tillack: Rainforest Action Network +1 415 350 0341

Felipe Guerrero: DAABON Organic fguerrero@daabon.com.co

To download the statement click here