Briefing notes: Palm oil certification schemes

As part of our palm oil programme of support to the UK industry, Efeca recently published a newsletter and five briefing notes on palm oil sustainability certification schemes including RSPO, ISPO, MSPO, NDPE and ISCC.

The schemes all have different criteria and vary in their impact to date.

RSPO is a global, multistakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil, comprising of members from plantation companies, processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers and retailers, financial institutions and NGOs globally. In December 2019, 4.06 million ha and 15.19 million tonnes were certified, representing 19% of global palm oil.

The Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) standard, introduced in 2011 is designed to ensure that all Indonesian oil palm growers conform to higher agricultural standards. The ISPO Commission has now certified nearly 30% of Indonesia’s estimated 14 million hectares of palm plantation, and 1% of smallholder plantations.

The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standard was launched in order to help small and mid-range cultivators to operate sustainably. About 55% or 3.19 million hectares (ha) of oil palm plantations in Malaysia have received the MSPO certification as of September 30, 2019.

Since 2013, major palm oil companies have increasingly adopted ‘No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation’ (NDPE) policies that aim to ensure palm oil is more sustainable. The impact of NDPE policies to date is difficult to measure, as there is no established common method of monitoring NDPE implementation.

The International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) is a globally applicable certification that promotes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable land use, protection of the natural biosphere and social sustainability for all types of agricultural, forestry and other raw materials. ISCC began operations in 2010 and currently, more than 3,300 companies in 100 countries are ISCC certified.

To see all the briefing notes, go to our Resources page, and click on Palm Oil briefing notes and Annual Progress Reports.

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