Palm oil giant IOI Group regains RSPO sustainability certification
Madeleine Cuff 08 August 2016
Palm oil plantations
Palm oil producer was stripped of its certification in March 2016 after failing to meet environmental standards
Palm oil supplier IOI Group has had its certificate for sustainable palm oil reinstated by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), after it was judged to have fulfilled the body’s demands to improve its environmental performance.
In a statement issued last Friday, the RSPO said the palm oil supplier would be re-instated with its certificate from today, Monday August 8.
The Malaysia-based conglomerate saw its certification suspended in March this year after the RSPO ruled it was not meeting the certificate’s standards and failing to adequately protect peat areas and forests.
The ruling led a wave of major multinationals, including Unilever, Kellogg’s and Mars, to drop IOI Group from their lists of approved suppliers, prompting IOI Group to mount a legal challenge against RSPO, which it has since dropped.
According to a statement issued on Friday by the RSPO, the body’s complaints panel is “satisfied” that IOI Group has met a number of conditions it set out in its March suspension, including full compliance with RSPO’s sustainability standards across its land bank and a plan to remediate and compensate affected parties for its historical non-compliance.
However, the RSPO stressed the reinstatement of certification was subject to an inspection of IOI Group’s land by an independent ground team.
“The RSPO welcomes the good progress achieved so far towards the resolution of this case, as confirmed by both parties involved in a recent joint statement,” the statement said. “However, the board of governors wishes to make it clear that the implementation of the action plan by IOI shall be subject to an independent ground verification by a team of experts. These experts will be appointed by the RSPO secretariat within 30 days from the date of this letter.”
It warned that the complaints panel would advise the RSPO to reinstate the suspension immediately if the verification team “finds significant failures in the implementation of IOI’s commitments to RSPO”.
Unilever, one of the multinationals which dropped IOI Group following its suspension, said it was now considering whether to re-start its commercial relationship with the company.
“Unilever is looking into the decision taken by the RSPO and based on this assessment will decide on the right approach and next steps. We will be able to communicate further on this matter in the next few days,” the firm said in an emailed statement to BusinessGreen.
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