As seen on the Forest Peoples Programme

Sophie Chao, Forest Peoples Programme

25 February, 2013

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a not-for-profit association formed in 2004 in response to the urgent and pressing global call for sustainably produced palm oil. The objective of this association is to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders. The RSPO brings together stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry: oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs and social or development NGOs.

This booklet is produced by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), who has been closely involved in the RSPO’s standard setting and public review processes, although it is not a member of the RSPO. Over the past decade, FPP and its grassroots, national and international partners in Africa and Southeast Asia have sought to ensure that the RSPO both adopts and upholds standards consistent with international human rights law and respect for the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples.

This document sets out the RSPO’s system for resolving disputes. It provides basic information and guidance to civil society organisations and affected local communities on how the RSPO complaint process works and the various steps involved in submitting a complaint. In separate documents we have sought to summarise our own experiences with the effectiveness of this system. In our view, there remains a wide gap between how the RSPO Complaints System ought to function and what it is actually able to achieve. We have been encouraging the RSPO to upgrade its process and in the meantime offer this guide in the belief that having access to an imperfect system is better than none. This document is based largely on information from the RSPO website, but has been produced independently. Readers are recommended to consult for further details.

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