Ethical Performance
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More Asian help needed on palm oil

May 2006

Organizations and individuals throughout Asia are being invited to join working groups formed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to follow through on the initiative's attempts to reduce the social and environmental impact of oil palm plantations.

The call follows the publication of the report of the third Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil, which adopted a set of principles and criteria. A statement from the meeting argued that the principles mean 'the world now has a credible and practical set of tools for measuring against sustainability, meeting stakeholder demands, and demonstrating sustainability within the palm oil industry' - but that real work needs to begin on implementing them.

Three groups are discussing the various initiatives arising from the meeting. The Verification Working Group is developing a methodology for identifying sustainable palm oil produced and supplied according to the organization's principles and criteria. The Smallholder Task Force helps the more modest producers to achieve the required standards. And the third group is running a trial over two years to assess producers and suppliers for consistency, applicability, practicality and effectiveness in dealing with the problems that arise from palm oil production. The results will be used to update the principles and criteria.

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