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Speaker: Dr Reinier de Man, Consultant, Leiden, The Netherlands
The development of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and its associated sustainability standard will be placed in a wider context: the emergence of many private sector driven ecological and social standards after ‘Rio’(1992), in cooperation with a variety of NGOs. After discussing RSPO’s Principles and Criteria as well as its governance structure, two questions will be asked. First, what is the potential of RSPO and similar multi-stakeholder supported standards to the conversion of global commodity markets towards sustainability? Second, how effective are RSPO and similar standards in contributing to sustainable commodity production? It will be shown that RSPO has considerable problems in dealing with land-use related issues, especially social and human rights issues. Finally it will be concluded that both enhancing global market conversion and dealing with land-use issues more effectively will require stronger government involvement in the future.
Dr Reinier de Man (1948, MSc chemistry, PhD social sciences) started his own consulting firm in 1987, after working several years at different Dutch universities. For more than 28 years, he has been working on the organisation of sustainable supply chains for timber, agricultural commodities and metals, including forestry/timber/paper, cotton/textile, palm oil, soy and platinum group metals. In 2002-2004, he assisted WWF, Unilever and partners to set up the Round Table on Sustainable Palm oil (RSPO), which has become the template for many successful international multi-stakeholder initiatives for sustainable agriculture. Among other things, he is now working on food security issues, transparency in land deals and corporate strategies for mainstreaming sustainable sourcing.