RSPO: The Future of Palm Oil is Sustainable

26 July 2023

The Future of Palm Oil is sustainable
Summary of the interview on

Dr. Inke van der Sluijs joined the RSPO secretariat in November 2013 and works with regional teams to ensure that the supply and demand for certified sustainable palm oil continue to grow. She also supports the Market Development Standing Committee.

EU’s viewpoint

“We’ve seen rapid growth in the supply of certified sustainable palm oil, but the market demand in large consumption areas is still limited. We need to find ways to promote sustainable sourcing in some countries.

The EU’s tough stance towards palm oil makes our work super difficult because consumers are confused by the messages that companies used, saying ‘this product does not contain palm oil’, for example.

We agree with the European Union that we should limit deforestation, and we already founded a committee for it in 2004. However, the way it should be implemented by the sector is something that they should be looking at for voluntary schemes.”


“The EU is focused on environmental or social issues, whereas RSPO covers all elements of sustainability”



“The EU’s renewable-energy directive will phase out first-generation feedstocks, including palm oil, sunflower rapeseed, and all virgin oils, starting in 2030. The palm oil industry has ensured that it can import pumps for biofuels, but this will no longer be possible after 2023.

EU officials say their regulations do not target any one country, but all commodities and imported goods should not contribute to deforestation. Malaysia and Indonesia are ready to comply with the regulation.

Companies will have to prove that conventional material in their palm oil mix is not related to deforestation.”


The palm oil industry has overcome many challenges, including less harvesting and fruits going to waste, and more attention on human rights. The new regulation will focus on human and workers’ rights and companies will fall for the inputs if Europe only looks at deforestation and its legality. The EU is focused on environmental or social issues, whereas RSPO covers all elements of sustainability.

At the moment we’re revising our standards and hope that all our members will agree to the new standard by the end of the year.

Read the full interview here >