Proforest, together with Solidaridad and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), organised the second Africa Sustainable Palm Oil Conference and RSPO Open Day in September 2016.

The events took place on 6th and 7th of September, 2016, at the La Palm Royal Beach Resort in Accra, under the theme, Translating Commitments into Action.

The forum brought together oil palm growers, civil society, financial institutions, supply chain actors, development partners, governments and key experts in the oil palm sector within Africa and beyond.

Context

Investment in the palm oil sector in Africa is growing – bringing with it the potential to provide jobs, improve local economies and reduce rural poverty. Future growth in the sector is expected to help close the palm oil deficit and position the region to be a net exporter of palm oil.

However, if not well planned and implemented, this growing industry could come with significant negative social and environmental impacts, leading to further rural impoverishment, land conflicts, deforestation and the destruction of High Conservation Values. Additionally, the dynamics of demand for palm oil are changing, as businesses across the globe are making voluntary, time-bound commitments to sourcing 100% certified sustainable palm oil.

Businesses in Africa are beginning to adopt sustainable practices in the production and trade of palm oil. As the commitment to and production of sustainable palm oil increases in Africa in response to the growing global market, there are obvious implications for local businesses and the small producers who dominate the palm oil industry in the region and their ability to adopt global best practice requirements.

The aim of the Africa Sustainable Palm Oil Conference is to bring together stakeholders to discuss how to position businesses on the continent to adopt best practices in sustainability whilst mainstreaming small producers’ ability to access global supply chains.


RSPO also organised a separate Smallholder Strategy Workshop on 8 and 9 September 2016, which was held at the same venue.

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