The RSPO has launched “RSPO NEXT” as a voluntary add-on to its existing Principles & Criteria (P&C) for sustainably grown palm oil. an initiative for RSPO members with company-wide policies that exceed current RSPO P&C requirements.
The RSPO has launched “RSPO NEXT” as a voluntary add-on to its existing Principles & Criteria (P&C) for sustainably grown palm oil. RSPO NEXT defines advanced criteria for palm oil production in order to further the fight against deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil production as well as strengthening human rights commitments.RSPO NEXT is a voluntary initiative for RSPO members with company-wide policies that exceed current RSPO P&C requirements in these and other key areas.Incorporating these add-on and voluntary criteria within the RSPO certification scheme means that RSPO NEXT certification can provide assurance to stakeholders that compliance to these advanced RSPO NEXT criteria has been verified independently by accredited Certification Bodies, alongside compliance with the RSPO P&C.To be eligible, growers must demonstrate that at least 60% of their plantations are already compliant with the core RSPO P&C, and must commit to the implementation of RSPO NEXT policies across all of their plantations. These policies must include:+ No deforestation. In addition to adhering to RSPO P&C and New Planting Procedures, palm oil growers will have to introduce a broader no-deforestation policy. This policy will allow companies to develop a palm oil plantation only in areas where vegetation and soil contain low stocks of carbon, and it shall limit CO2 emissions caused by any form of forest conversion.+ No planting on peatland. While the P&C recommends palm oil growers should avoid planting on peatland, RSPO NEXT bans any peatland development after 16 November 2015.+ No fire. In addition to the existing ban on using fire to clear land as stipulated by the P&C, palm oil growers must have plans and procedures to prevent, monitor and combat fire on plantations and around their estates.+ Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. RSPO NEXT requires palm oil growers to monitor, manage and reduce GHG emissions across their entire operations (including also mills and other facilities) and publicly report their status and progress. This criterion builds on the existing P&C requirement to minimise GHG emission from new plantations.+ Respect for smallholders’ and workers’ rights. Building on the already broad set of human rights criteria contained in the RSPO P&C, RSPO NEXT will require that if there is no national definition of a Decent Living Wage in a given country, palm oil growers must engage with their workers to mutually agree terms. It also requires growers to develop outreach programmes to support smallholders with sustainability and business skills.+ The use of Paraquat, a pesticide already banned in the European Union, is forbidden under RSPO NEXT.+ Enhanced transparency and traceability. To obtain RSPO NEXT verification, palm oil needs to be traceable to the plantation where it was produced.Palm oil buyers that want to claim their commitment to RSPO NEXT can do so through a system of RSPO NEXT credit purchases. The credits will be available only to those buyers that are already buying 100% certified sustainable palm oil through other supply chain systems (Book & Claim, Mass Balance, Segregated or Identity Preserved).“By creating RSPO NEXT we respond to a request from some of our members to provide continuous improvements within the RSPO framework for those ready and able to go further on their sustainability commitments,” said Datuk Darrel Webber, CEO of RSPO. “RSPO NEXT is an important milestone and can become a new industry benchmark for others who are working hard towards our common goal of 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil”.An agreement on the definition of RSPO NEXT was taken at the organisation’s Board of Governors meeting in November 2015. The definition is the result of a transparent and collaborative process, which included a 60-day public consultation, open to RSPO members and external stakeholders, in compliance with ISEAL best practices.