Palm oil legal challenge withdrawn

by Jeff Gelski
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Palm oil farmer, IOI Loders Croklaan
IOI said it plans to adopt the more stringent R.S.P.O. NEXT certification system at the end of this year.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — IOI Corp. Berhad on June 6 said it is withdrawing a challenge against its suspension from the Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil.

IOI, a founding member of the R.S.P.O., on May 9 said it had filed the challenge in the Zurich District Court of Switzerland. After the filing, the company said it engaged with many of its stakeholders, including customers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the R.S.P.O. Now, the challenge will be withdrawn formally in a June 14 conciliatory hearing.

The suspension, which went into effect April 4, relates to complaints against three oil palm growers and IOI subsidiaries: PT Sukses Karya Sawit (PT SKS), PT Berkat Nabati Sawit (PT BNS) and PT Bumi Sawit Sejahtera (PT BSS). IOI said on May 30 it submitted information on sustainability policy initiatives and resource deployment to the R.S.P.O.

IOI also said it plans to adopt the more stringent R.S.P.O. NEXT certification system at the end of this year. Introduced in February, R.S.P.O. NEXT implements a set of indicators that members need to meet on top of the existing R.S.P.O. certification. Under R.S.P.O. NEXT, palm oil growers must introduce a broader no-deforestation policy. Other indicators included are: no use of fire, no use of the paraquat pesticide, no planting on peat, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, respecting human rights, and ensuring transparency and due diligence in sourcing from independent suppliers.

The R.S.P.O., a not-for-profit group, unites stakeholders in the palm oil industry and develops and implements global standards for sustainable palm oil, which include environmental and social criteria. 
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