RAN’s Statement on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil




Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has concerns about the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)’s efforts to produce, trade, and market environmentally and socially “sustainable” oil. While RSPO member companies publicly claim that they are committed to sustainable palm oil, many are not meeting their RSPO commitments. At a time when global forest loss and peat degradation are making Indonesia the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, we question the RSPO’s true ability to transform the palm oil industry. At the same time, even if the principles and criteria of the RSPO were to be enforced, they would not adequately protect forests, peat lands, or Indigenous and traditional land rights.

Despite RSPO certification, deforestation, deep peat conversion, land disputes and illegal practices continue to occur in the plantation estates owned by Cargill, Sinar Mas, and Duta Palma – all of whom are RSPO members. The RSPO is failing to enforce its own minimal principles and criteria and is not taking action on grievances filed by communities affected by RSPO members. The RSPO must revise its principles and criteria to adequately protect forests, communities and the climate by implementing a moratorium on forest and peatland conversion and by promoting the rights of smallholders and affected communities.

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A manmade inferno inside the globally renowned Tripa rainforest in Aceh, Indonesia is pushing this forest’s unique population of Sumatran orangutans to the brink of extinction. Destruction inside palm oil plantation leases is driving the end of this great lowland forest, despite years of efforts by local communities to defend their forests and livelihood.
When they were just eleven years old, Michigan Girl Scouts Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen discovered an alarming fact while completing research for their Girl Scout Bronze Awards: most Girl Scout cookies are packed with palm oil, an ingredient that causes the destruction of irreplaceable rainforests and threatens the survival of humankind’s closest relative, orangutans.