Indonesian group quits sustainable palm oil body

JAKARTA: The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) has withdrawn its membership from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), after the world's top producing country forged ahead with its own sustainability scheme, both groups said yesterday.

The RSPO is an industry body of consumers, green groups and plantation firms that aims to promote use of sustainable palm oil products and many major European palm oil buyers say the RSPO will continue to be the international sustainability benchmark.

Many palm oil producers have criticised the RSPO for being too much in favour of green groups, and both Malaysia and Indonesia are pushing on with their own schemes.

Fadhil Hasan, executive director of Gapki said, " ... we decided to resign from RSPO because we already have ISPO," he said. "We sent the letter of resignation on Thursday last week."

Unlike the RSPO, the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) will punish by law those found to be breaking ISPO rules, a ministry official said last November.

The RSPO, on its website, said it regretted Gapki's withdrawal. "However, we accept its decision as the RSPO is a voluntary membership- based organisation." - Reuters

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