On April 11, 2016, I blogged about IOI’s suspension from the multi-stakeholder Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil due to non-compliance of rules.
Now, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd had withdrawn RSPO certificates of their 58 mills located throughout Malaysia effective May 03, 2016. This is the first time a member of the RSPO – the main industry standard for sustainable palm oil – is seeking a voluntary suspension for RSPO certifications.
Market analysts believe FGV’s decision could be linked partly to the alleged breach of labor conditions at their plantations in the treatment of workers, leading to the suspension of the Pasoh palm oil mill in Negeri Sembilan, which was filed under the RSPO complaint case trackers.
Also, a report by NGO-based Chain Reaction Research had alleged that FGV’s subsidiaries are in breach of RSPO standards as their subsidiaries cleared 880 ha of high-conservation-value peat lands in Sarawak.
Even if this surprising move means that FGV can no longer sell RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil to their customers – it is important that the company get their own house in order, especially on the sustainability issues along their supply chain – from plantations, Felda settlers/smallholders and right down to the mills.
Fact: Certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) presently fetches a better premium at about $25 to $30 per ton more in the world market compared with the non-CSPO.