The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has hailed the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global's (GPFG) decision to consider deforestation and making reference to the RSPO's standard and its membership as a consideration when shaping its investment portfolio.
In a statement today, RSPO said the list of companies GPFG has dissociated its interests in included, among others, RSPO members from the growers sector, some of which had begun certification of their mills and supply base.
"For those companies involved in oil palm cultivation that are yet to be certified, this decision by the Norwegian Government is as an affirmative action in encouraging these firms to urgently make a shift to sustainable practices," it said.
Meanwhile, RSPO said the companies GPFG has divested from included also RSPO member organisations that had begun certification and continued to make commitments to fully certify all their mills over a stipulated time frame.
"The Roundtable would be interested to understand the other considerations which were used by GPFG in this decision," it said.
It said industries in many countries in Europe, as well as a few
governments, had been supportive in their commitment towards certified sustainable palm oil.
"The constructive support of investors is essential for companies in their pursuit towards sustainable practices and certification.
"The RSPO would welcome discussions with GPFG in working together to further transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm," it said.
In its 2012 annual report, the GPFG said it had sold its stakes in 23 companies that produced palm oil unsustainably in the first quarter of last year.
"Before reaching this decision, we reviewed a number of companies
contributing to tropical deforestation through their involvement in the palm oil industry in Malaysia and Indonesia," it said.
The fund said it continued to hold US$450 million in the sector and has increased its holdings in companies that it believed had progressive environmental practices, some of whom were RSPO members.-- Bernama