The food and beverage giant had its RSPO membership suspended on June 27 after the RSPO said it had failed to file its Annual Communication on Progress (ACOP) reports, either entirely or in full, for two consecutive years. Nestlé also had €2,000 ($2,340) of unpaid overdue RSPO membership fees.
From the time of suspension, RSPO granted Nestlé a 30-day period before its Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) certifications, trade and trademark license would cease to be valid and asked it fully comply and commit to the RSPO code of conduct and statutes by July 20. Nestlé has since filed a time-bound action plan to achieve 100% RSPO certified palm oil by 2023 and therefore been reinstated.
Nestlé has pledged to 'step up their efforts'
Darrel Webber, CEO of RSPO, said it was important members of the RSPO were committed to transforming the palm oil industry.
“Nestlé has pledged to step up their efforts in working actively on solutions within the RSPO system, via active participation. It's with this in mind that we are welcoming Nestlé back to the roundtable, confident they will live up to our membership obligations and succeed in delivering on their time-bound plan,” Webber said.
In its official statement, Nestlé's global head of responsible sourcing Benjamin Ware said transparency had “always been a priority” for the company and it appreciated RSPO's decision to reinstate its membership.
“Nestlé has always been committed to implementing responsible sourcing and has made significant progress towards our commitment to using fully responsibly sourced palm oil.”
Ware said Nestlé's 2023 action plan filed to RSPO focused on increasing traceability primarily through segregated RSPO palm oil, which built on current activities in its supply chain.
He said Nestlé would also participate in working groups, particularly those working to prevent deforestation and respecting human rights across the value chain.
Sustainable palm oil in LATAM
FoodNavigator-LATAM recently spoke to RSPO Latin America's outreach and engagement manager Yasmina Neustadtl about how much of a priority sustainable palm oil was in the region and the RSPO's plans for LATAM in the coming years.
Neustadl said RSPO wanted to get more food and beverage brands on board because, currently, more than 90% of Latin American-registered RSPO membership was from producers.
“In the past it's been grower-orientated and now we're hoping to be a bit more market-orientated, obviously without disregarding the growers,” she said.
Latin America is the fourth-largest palm oil growing region in the world, producing 5-6% behind Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Currently, 782,000 tons or 21% of total production in RSPO-certified and the goal is to have 1m tons certified by the end of 2018 and 50% by 2020.