Stakeholders Gathered to Discuss Promotion of Sustainable Palm Oil Supply Chain in China
China is the world’s second largest importer and third largest consumer of palm oil. In the past two years, the average import volume of palm oil was around 6 million tons. The expected annual growth of demand for palm oil in China is 10%, meaning that by 2020 the demand for palm oil in China is expected to reach 12 million tons. Mr. Bian Zhenhu, president of the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (CFNA) said during the meeting: “The discussion and efforts on achieving the goal of sustainable palm oil trade and consumption has never stopped within the industry. Certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) has a great opportunity to lead the market transformation. With everyone’s support, we will try our best to integrate the strength of every related enterprise in the chamber to increase the procurement of CSPO, promote the transformation of China’s economy, and achieve sustainable development.”
As one of the co-organizers, Datuk Darrel Webber, Chief Executive Officer of the RSPO, mentioned during his opening speech: “The RSPO pays great attention to the development of sustainable palm oil in China. This is not only because of the volume of palm oil China is consuming, but also because China is taking responsibility on such issues and is determined to achieve its sustainable development targets. The RSPO will use our best practice in the sustainable palm oil sector to fully support and help China stand in the forefront of global promotion around sustainable palm oil through a series of strategic initiatives.”
Sustainable palm oil is related to social and environmental developments. As one of the frontrunner NGO in promoting sustainable palm oil trade and consumption in China, WWF China has always been valuing collaboration with multi-stakeholders. Mr. Jin Zhonghao, Director of Market transformation from WWF China indicated in his keynote speech that: “As the main terrestrial ecosystem, forests, which covers 30% of the earth’s terrestrial area, are home to 300 million people and 80% known species. China’s high demand for palm oil should not trigger biodiversity loss and the social issues such as community conflicts. WWF China is planning to jointly initiate China Sustainable Palm Oil Alliance with all stakeholders along palm oil value chain for concerted efforts for the market transformation of sustainable palm oil in China and beyond.”
Mr. Stefano Savi, Global Outreach & Engagement Director of the RSPO, mentioned during his keynote speech: “The RSPO hopes to increase awareness and understanding of RSPO’s vision among Chinese NGOs, domestic and overseas enterprises in an attempt to gain further recognition and support from the Chinese government, cooperating with more and more stakeholders.”
In 2016, 9 new members in China, including major sustainable palm oil importers such as Sinograin Oils Corporation, joined the RSPO. The total number of RSPO members in China has reached 52. Among these members, Sinograin is a large key state-owned enterprise whose establishment was approved by the State Council, is a significant implement for China to adjust the grain market. Sinograin’s great impact on China’s agricultural product and food sector allow the cooperation between Sinograin and the RSPO to have a positive and deep influence on the promotion of sustainable palm oil in China.
Mr. Wang Zhigang, General Manager of Public Relations & Government Affairs at Julong Trading Co., Ltd., said: “Julong has planted more than 60,000 hectares of oil palm in Indonesia out of its total land reserve of 200,000 hectares. Julong will operate plantations in Indonesia with RSPO standards, not only meeting local laws and regulations, but also paying great attention to hiring local staff to help local community economic development, respecting local culture and religion, which gains our overseas business more opportunities for development . "
“As one of the companies that actively advocates for the RSPO sustainable palm oil certification, Mars has achieved 100% RSPO Mass Balance sourcing. We have also participated in numerous activities which promote sustainable palm oil in China. At the same time, Mars actively educates our suppliers and associates on the importance of using sustainable palm oil, company practices sustainable development strategy, gaining employees’ passion to the company, increasing brand awareness and market share, and therefore gaining long-term stable returns from sustainable investment. We hope more business gathering with the practice of sustainable development strategy.” said Ms. Wang Yueyue, Sustainable Procurement Manager of Mars, which owns brands including Dove and Snickers.
Mr. Jason Clay, SVP, Markets and Executive Director, the Markets Institute at WWF-US gave the closing comments from the perspective of global sustainable development. He indicated that WWF started its work on sustainable palm oil developments in the 1990s. Sustainable palm oil development is an issue of continuous improvement which requires the joint efforts of everyone. No one is big enough to change the industry alone. However, as a big consumer and importer of palm oil, China, if it can create an alliance and form a unified effort to create a single voice, can make a big impact on the sustainability of the industry.
Jointly organized by CFNA, RSPO and WWF China, this international forum was attended by government agencies, media, traders, processors, manufacturers and retailers. Representatives from many global companies were present, including Wilmar, COFCO, Julong, Mars, HSBC, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and L'Oréal.
In response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably-produced palm oil, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta, London and Beijing.
RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry - palm oil producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or developmental NGOs - to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.