The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) unites thousands of stakeholders from across the palm oil industry to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. Ordinary and Affiliate members are required to submit an Annual Communication of Progress (ACOP) report each year to gauge progress towards the shared vision of “making sustainable palm oil the norm”. But an analysis of 2018 ACOP reporting by WWF and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) casts serious doubt over company commitments to produce, trade, and purchase sustainable palm oil.

The analysis found that:

  • Several companies have made pledges to source deforestation- and exploitation-free palm oil by 2020 including to become 100% RSPO certified, yet most of them are far from reaching their targets, and many other RSPO members have set far less ambitious targets.
  • RSPO member companies are failing to abide by their membership obligations, with over a third of member companies either not reporting to the RSPO or reporting incomplete data in their ACOP reports. This lack of transparency prohibits accurate assessment of the RSPO’s progress and the progress of its members against their commitments.
  • Companies that are serious about their commitments to palm oil sustainability should report complete and accurate information in their 2019 ACOP reports.
  • The RSPO must tighten and enforce requirements for companies to regularly report accurate information in their ACOPs.

The 2019 ACOP reporting period is now open, with submissions due by 17 May.


1308 RSPO company members were required to submit an ACOP in 2018

Cover image credit: James Anderson, World Resources Institute on Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0