RSPO appoints Joseph D’Cruz from UNDP as CEO

The Malaysian will move from New York to Kuala Lumpur to take the helm at the palm oil certifier.

Joseph D'Cruz
Joseph D'Cruz was previously special advisor, strategic planning and innovation at the United Nations Development Programme in New York, where he led UNDP’s global strategy development, futures and innovation functions. Image: RSPO

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the lead certifier for the palm oil trade, has hired a new chief executive after a 10-month search.

The Kuala Lumpur-based organisation has appointed Joseph D’Cruz to take on the top job, effective 15 March.

D’Cruz was previously a special advisor for strategic planning and innovation at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York, where he led its global strategy development, futures and innovation functions.

He replaces Beverley Postma, who left the role after a year, and subsequently joined Grow Asia. According to sources, RSPO had been looking for a Malaysian to take the helm.D’Cruz started his career in management consulting for KPMG in Malaysia, and has also worked for World Economic Forum before moving to UNDP.

He joins an organisation that faces ongoing scrutiny for its role in promoting palm oil that is grown without clearing rainforests or inflicting human rights abuses on workers. A report by Greenpeace last year found that RSPO was the strongest of the major forest-risk commodity certifiers, although its standards are often poorly implemented, and members have broken RSPO rules without penalties.

In a statement, the co-chairs of RSPO’s board of governors, Anne Rosenbarger and Dato’ Carl Bek-Nielsen, said they were confident that D’Cruz would be “highly effective in leading RSPO and bringing diverse groups of stakeholders together to facilitate and accelerate the global scale-up of certified sustainable palm oil.”

D’Cruz said he was honoured to be joining an organisation that is “advancing one of the most important sustainability agendas in the world.”

“An oil palm sector that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable is critical for our collective global future,” he said.

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