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Indonesia to road test green palm oil standards

Indonesia will trial voluntary green standards for palm oil producers in February, before rolling out a mandatory scheme in 2012, an agriculture ministry official said on Friday.

Amid pressure from green groups to halt deforestation that speeds up global warming, the agriculture ministry said in April it planned to issue Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification to cover the entire operations of planters.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said on Friday the now complete ISPO document would be tested on between ten and 20 companies in February. At the same time, the government will hold a workshop on ISPO to local government, the private sector and NGOs.

At an event marking the 100-year anniversary of palm oil commercialization on March 29 in Medan, North Sumatra, the government will officially launch ISPO.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which groups planters, green groups and consumers, is the only other major group to have set up green standards for the whole industry.

But unlike RSPO, which does not impose sanctions on members that violate its voluntary standards, those found to be breaking ISPO rules will be punished by law, a ministry official said in November.

Earlier this week, the new secretary general of the RSPO, described the ISPO as “excellent” and said it would complement the RSPO.

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