The rise of negative campaigns by using environmental and social issues that attack the palm oil industry raises demands for the fulfillment of sustainability certification for palm oil products by producers. The sustainability certificate has also been used by developed countries such as the European Union and the United States as a requirement for importing palm oil products into the country.
In the history of agriculture, especially global vegetable oil commodities, only palm oil is required to have sustainability certification. Yet by understanding the concept of multifunction agriculture, palm oil also have an economic function, a socio-cultural function and a function of nature preservation so that its sustainability is guaranteed. Although it appears to discriminate against palm oil, but to accommodate the demands of global consumers and importing countries, various system for palm oil sustainability certification was formed, one of which applied in Indonesia is Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO).
Since it was developed in 2009 until now, ISPO has rules namely Minister of Agriculture Regulation No. 19/2011 which was replaced by Minister of Agriculture Regulation No. 11/2015. ISPO’s realization until June 2020 showed that only around 27 percent of the area of Indonesian oil palm plantations has been certified by ISPO. Even the proportion of community oil palm plantations that are certified by ISPO is very small at only 0.21 percent. It also showed there are obstacles faced by plantation business actors to fulfilled indicator of sustainable palm oil.
The celebration of the 11th anniversary of ISPO in 2020, was also marked by the issuance of Presidential Regulation No. 44/2020 concerning the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Plantation Certification System. This Presidential Regulation concerning ISPO does not revise or replace Minister of Agriculture Regulation 11/2015, but formulated for compliment and refinement of the previous rules all at once for to accommodate the dynamics of the global market while increasing the adoption of SDGs values. In addition to aims more comprehensive, there are differences such as: ISPO’s principles, ISPO’s institutions, ISPO certified mandatory for smallholder, funding assistance and the authority of certification institutes.
Although the ISPO Presidential Regulation are relatively comprehensive, however the concept of sustainability adopted in ISPO (as well as other the sustainable certification systems) still has several weaknesses that have the potential to hamper the realization of the vision of a sustainable palm industry. As for some things that can be criticized from the concept of sustainability are as follows: (1) the concept of absolute sustainability; (2) divibility of sustainabilit; (3) has not covered palm oil-based processed products; (4) has not covered the issue of tracebility and supply chain mechanism; (5) oil palm smallholders who are threatened with phase out; (6) obstacles in implementing corporate and community partnership;, (7) lack of synergy with government policies; and (8) low consumer’s willingness to pay for sustainable palm oil products.
Thus, it is expected that stakeholders especially in Indonesian government, can further analysze the points that have been criticized and then accommodate them in the form of technical regulations (eg ministerial regulations) as a technical guideline for implementing ISPO certification to realize a national palm oil industry that is more sustainable, more competitive and acepted by national and global markets.