There are a number of schemes for palm oil plantation traders and processors, as well as retailers and manufacturers to demonstrate their sustainability efforts and good agricultural practices. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), a verification system that focuses on the creation of innovations in the palm oil industry.
The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) is a multi-stakeholder initiative developed in partnership with leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and palm oil producers. It focuses on leveraging the experience of its members to create and promote innovations in the palm oil industry.
POIG is guided by a decision-making body with members, known as the Organising Committee (OC). The Committee members include Agropalma, DAABON, Ferrero, Forest Peoples Programme, Greenpeace, Musim Mas Group, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The Committee oversees POIG’s governance structure, membership approval and suspension, as well as the overall initiatives.
POIG is a verification system and a platform pushing for responsibly produced palm oil globally. It is aimed at achieving the adoption of responsible palm oil production practices by key players in the supply chain through developing and sharing a credible and verifiable benchmark that builds on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) criteria but it is not a competing certification system to the RSPO. RSPO is a voluntary certification scheme that provides assurance to stakeholders that the standard of palm oil production is responsible.
POIG recognises the new RSPO Principles & Criteria (P&C) adopted in the general assembly held in November 2018. As a strong supporter of RSPO certification, POIG’s Charter requires grower members to become 100% RSPO certified within two years of joining POIG. Meanwhile, for POIG Retailers and Manufacturer, they must be RSPO members and its derivatives come from RSPO Segregated (SG) certified sources.
It’s all about innovation
POIG brings together representatives from NGOs and palm oil producing companies, brands and other players in the supply chain to share and develop practices to ensure that responsible palm oil is produced and available in the marketplace.
It is mandatory for the members of POIG to create and implement innovations related to palm oil production and consumption. POIG serves as a platform for its members to develop and promote new innovations to improve palm oil production practices such as labour rights and issues within the industry.
Several key issues that POIG members should commit to include:
- Alternative approaches to disassociate the link between palm oil production and the destruction of peatlands
- Mechanisms to strengthen the integrity of audits
- Increased emphasis on transparency and public reporting
- New approaches to identifying and protecting High Carbon Stock forest areas while accommodating the rights and livelihoods of local communities
- Developing risk assessment tools to reduce the amount of tainted palm oil or palm oil that are linked to deforestation
You can reach more about successful innovations carried out by POIG members here: http://poig.org/further-resources/poig-innovations/
Joining and becoming POIG verified
There are different criteria for NGOs, palm oil growers, retailers and manufacturers to apply for POIG membership.
Annual verification of compliance with the POIG Charter and Indicators is applicable to POIG’s producer members. Third-party auditors will conduct verification assessments to evaluate POIG producer member compliance with the POIG Charter. The results of these assessments are reviewed by POIG and when approved, it will be published on the POIG website.
New producer members are expected to be an active participant in further developing innovations for the palm oil industry.
NEPCon is a POIG registered Certification Body and is now qualified to verify POIG producer members’ compliance with the POIG Charter.
In April 2019, Musim Mas Group (Musim Mas) became the first Southeast Asian company to be verified against the POIG Charter. NEPCon conducted the verification for Musim Mas. Musim Mas is involved with every part of the palm oil supply chain.
If you are an existing or new producer member of POIG and would like to work towards becoming POIG verified, please contact:
Lita Natasastra, NEPCon Solutions Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, +62 361 472 3499
Besides POIG, NEPCon also offers RSPO certification.
Featured image by Gusti Ayu Fransiska Dewi/ NEPCon
Update: An earlier version of this article listed Rainforest Action Network as one of POIG's Organising Committee (OC) but they have since stepped down. This article has been updated to include this recently received information.