Last week, some of the world’s most prominent NGOs and leading palm oil producers announced a cutting-edge initiative – the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG).

NGOs like Greenpeace, WWF, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the social grassroots NGO Forest Peoples’ Programme were signatories to the charter. Many corporates dealing in Palm oil came on board, though the second-largest producer Malaysia did not join this.

The initiative is based around a detailed charter, which adds significantly to existing best practice and to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO standard).The most significant commitment is probably the goal of breaking the link between palm oil expansion and deforestation – an issue where the RSPO has often been criticised of being too weak. Accountability and reporting is also given a prominent boost in the charter – POIG companies commit to regular sustainability reporting, GHG and water accountability as well as effective means to counter bribery and corruption. Such increased transparency is sorely needed in an industry where much sustainability innovation is taking place, but where less than 10 companies produce GRI reports to account for their performance and improvements.

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