KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has lifted the certification suspension on the IOI Group, effective Aug. 8. An R.S.P.O. complaints panel said the IOI Group, a founding member of the R.S.P.O., met the conditions it sent in a letter to the company on March 14.
Also on Aug. 8, the IOI Group launched its revised sustainable palm oil policy and a sustainability implementation plan.
“The revised policy reaffirms our commitments to no deforestation, no planting on peat, zero burning on all new planting and replanting as well as driving socioeconomic advancement of the communities,” the IOI Group said. “It also introduces new commitments on peatland landscape management and protection, peat land rehabilitation, enhanced fire prevention measures, and the implementation of a more robust labor rights monitoring system. A key element is that we expect and will ensure our suppliers adhere to the same sustainability commitments as us.”
The sustainability implementation plan serves as a document that puts into practice the aspirations and commitments stated in the revised sustainable palm oil policy. It contains activities, milestones and timelines for the delivery of each subject area.
The R.S.P.O.’s suspension of the IOI Group began on April 1 and related to complaints against three IOI Group subsidiaries: PT Sukses Karya Sawit, PT Berkat Nabati Sawit and PT Bumi Sawit Sejahtera. The complaints revolved around such issues as substandard reviews, land clearing without plantation business permits and fraudulent statements about activity on the ground.
In lifting the suspension, the R.S.P.O. said it welcomed the progress that the IOI Group had achieved so far. The R.S.P.O. now will appoint a team of experts to verify the IOI Group’s plan.
“The findings of the independent ground verification team shall be scrutinized by the R.S.P.O. C.P. (complaints panel),” the R.S.P.O. said. “The C.P. will advise the board of governors to re-impose the suspension, with immediate effect, if the verification team finds significant failures in the implementation of IOI’s commitments to R.S.P.O., in correcting deficiencies that led to IOI’s certifications being suspended in the first place.”
The IOI Group will continue to submit its quarterly progress report as mandated by the complaints panel. At the end of a 12-month period, the complaints panel again will commission a team of experts to verify the IOI Group’s plan. The panel then will determine whether the plan’s implementation is satisfactory.The R.S.P.O. is a not-for-profit that unites stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.