Palm oil is tainted by environmental destruction and poor working conditions but global production is soaring. As the highest-yielding vegetable oil crop, global production is soaring, and also the cause widespread deforestation over the last four decades. In 2004, a group of environmental non-profits and palm oil companies joined together to set up the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The roundtable sets out eight principles, citing 163 criteria, which are designed to prevent the worst aspects of palm oil cultivation: illegal deforestation, chemical pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of biodiversity, water loss, poor employment conditions etc. With nearly 3,600 members, it is the largest multi-stakeholder initiative of its kind.
Dan Strechay is the U.S. Representative of the RSPO.
Based in New York, he is now responsible for outreach and engagement activities to members and stakeholder in the U.S., as well as formalizing the RSPO’s presence in this important market.
Prior to joining the RSPO, Dan was the Senior Manager, Sustainability Communications for PepsiCo, located at the Purchase, NY headquarters where he worked on the implementation and communication of their “Performance with Purpose” vision, as well as providing support for the Office of Sustainability, Procurement, Public Policy and Government Affairs teams on sustainability issues and policies. Previously, Dan was a member of the Sustainability & Stakeholder Engagement Team in the Americas for Asia Pulp & Paper, supporting the launch of company’s zero deforestation policy, and the Group Director of Communications for the world’s largest publicly traded metal and electronics recycling company, Sims Metal Management.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil. Members of RSPO, and participants in its activities come from many different backgrounds, including plantation companies, processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturers and retailers of palm oil products, financial institutions, environmental NGOs and social NGOs, from many countries that produce or use palm oil. The RSPO vision is to “transform the markets by making sustainable palm oil the norm".
The Guardian special report on The Palm Oil Debate: