ISPO is Recognized by The Tokyo 2020, Indonesian Palm Oil Officially Become Olympics Food Sources
In the history of agriculture, especially global vegetable oil commodities, only palm oil is required to have sustainability certification. Although it appears to discriminate against palm oil, but to accommodate the demands of global consumers and importing countries, various palm oil sustainability certification systems have been formed, one of which applied in Indonesia is the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO). The ISPO certification was made by the Government of Indonesia to become a national guideline or standard for oil palm cultivation that aims to reduce the negative campaigns alleged by anti-palm oil parties while improving the management of oil palm plantations in order to create a sustainable and competitive national palm oil industry.
Even though it has reached the age of 11 years in 2020, ISPO still faces many challenges, one of which is related to the low acceptance of ISPO. ISPO is still regarded as a local policy has weakness so that it is unable to influence market participants. At the global level, even though Indonesia as the world’s largest producer and exporter of palm oil, ISPO certification has not been able to stop negative campaign that attack the national palm oil industry. Even importing countries such as the European Union and the United States use this sustainability issue which aims to prevent and even phase out palm oil from their countries.
But in the context of strengthening ISPO, all levels of the Government of Indonesia are trying to increase the acceptance of ISPO in both national and global markets. No exception, representatives of the Government of Indonesia who served in other countries also undertook Government to Government (G to G) diplomacy efforts in order to increase the acceptability of palm oil products and the ISPO sustainable system in the country where they served.
In June, good news came from Tokyo stating that The Tokyo 2020 as the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games recognized the ISPO certificate as one of 19 sustainable certifications that had fulfill the Sustainable Source Code in the procurement of food raw materials during the Olympics. That is, with this agreement, Japan allow Indonesia to supply palm oil that is used both to meet food needs and other needs such as personal care products (soap). Not only ISPO certification, other palm oil sustainability certification namely RSPO and MSPO, has also become a certification approved by The Tokyo 2020 especially the 2020 Olympic Sustainable Sourcing Code Committee and the Tokyo Paralympics.
Efforts to increase the acceptance of ISPO, especially at the holding of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, were initiated by the Indonesian Agricultural Attache in Tokyo which promoted a number of agricultural products from Indonesia, one of which is palm oil, which has been marketed in Japan. Armed with materials from the ISPO Commission Secretariat, the Agricultural Attache offered a documents such as a copy of The Ministry of Agriculture Regulation 11/2015, details realization of the plantation area and volume of CPO certified by ISPO to the list of certification organization, to convince the Tokyo 2020 that Indonesian palm oil is not only a product that pay attention to sustainability but have also fulfill the sustainability aspect.
Although due to the Covid-19 pandemic the holding of the Tokyo Olympics which was originally scheduled for July 24 to August 9, 2020 had to be delayed, recognition of the ISPO by The Tokyo 2020 became a new hope for Indonesia in continuing the palm oil diplomacy struggle. Considering Japan is known as one of the countries implementing regulations on food safety standards, especially for imported products that are relatively strict and difficult, so the recognition of ISPO by The Tokyo 2020 is considered as an achievement. It is expected, that Japan’s initiative to recognize ISPO can become a foundation that will further strengthen the positive image of the Indonesian palm oil industry and products as well as inspire other countries to increase their acceptance of Indonesian palm oil ISPO.
The recognition also became a motivation for Indonesian palm oil stakeholders to continue to struggle and be more vigorous in conducting oil diplomacy not only in Japan, but also in other export destinations country. As a result, the scope for accepting ISPO as a sustainable Indonesian palm oil certification system has broaden and increased.
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