Monday, November 28, 2011

Seafood for Thanksgiving

RT9 (RSPO) Conference has come to an end and we feel we have gained a wealth of knowledge.  It was amazing and inspiring that nearly 1000 people from 50 countries came together to discuss how best to continue to move certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) forward, but it was also very clear that there is still a lot of work to be done.  We heard varying opinions on the best ways to ensure a better future for not only the palm oil industry, but also the environment as a whole. There were many discussions surrounding environmental issues like deforestation, greenhouse gases and HCV (high conservation value) areas.  There are solutions but will take all stakeholders setting aside their differences and working together to make the changes that are best for everyone involved.  Another interesting thing we found was that the US was very under-represented at the conference although we are one of the top consumers of palm oil in the world.  This makes us realize is that the problems of palm oil are still not widely known or understood in the US, and consumers have yet to inform their favorite companies that they will only accept CSPO in the products they purchase.  Help us spread the word to giants like General Mills, Pepperidge Farms, and Pillsbury that joining the RSPO and using 100% CSPO is the right thing to do not only for the survival of endangered species such as orangutans, rhinos, and tigers but also for the health of the planet.

When we applied to join RSPO we had a choice to join as affiliate members or ordinary members.  We chose to pay a higher membership fee in part because we felt it was crucial to be able to vote in the RSPO General Assembly.  So it was extremely gratifying to be able to vote in the 8th General Assembly on numerous important resolutions.

On Thursday night we did not exactly eat a typical Thanksgiving dinner…we ate at a seafood restaurant!  We had a great conversation with Isabelle Lackman of Hutan, an orangutan conservation organization here in Malaysia.  This morning we spent some time with Adam Harrison of WWF, who is on the RSPO executive board and is a great resource regarding palm oil sustainability issues.

We are flying to Sumatra today to begin the next exciting part of our journey!

Find out more about palm oil and orangutans on our palm oil crisis page and check back soon - we’ll send updates when we can!

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