NGOs warned in new report

Voluntary global standards like the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are one of the chief tools being employed to reduce deforestation associated with the production of agricultural commodities.

However, a new study argues that while NGOs have played a vital role in strengthening biodiversity conservation standards within the RSPO, the system constrains their ability to achieve other conservation goals, such as securing local land rights.

Certifications such as RSPO “can be qualified as a new capitalist instrument, promoted by dominant economic players and major NGOs, and operating at the expense of local people,” the study says.

It argues that conservation NGOs should collaborate “outside the structures of the RSPO”, to avoid reinforcing the “market logic” of the system.