The RSPO (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil) has finally decided that deforestation is not sustainable. This has always been a serious concern about the RSPO as there is no way that deforestation can ever be classed as sustainable (by definition if it relies on cutting down rainforest, what happens when it runs out?).
There are several issues with this, one of these being that many of the palm oil companies have already deforested thousands of square miles of forest and therefore don’t need any more land to be able to continue growing their business. The RSPO has essentially been classifying palm oil producers as being sustainable, growing on land that they themselves deforested and often in the previous decade. This is obviously absurd and therefore suggests that this move is a good thing, the question is essentially is whether it is too late.
The deforestation that has occurred over the last couple of decades has wreaked havoc across large parts of Borneo and Sumatra, as well as significant parts of the Amazonian rainforest. There has been an alarming move in the last decade to start to try to create these plantations in the largely intact rainforest of West Africa.
Given the delay in pushing in sensible rules the RSPO will have to do much better than it has in the past at enforcing its new rules if it is to have any semblance of doing something to save the remaining rainforest on planet Earth.