Creating Change from the Inside: CEA's Involvement with the RSPO Principles & Criteria
CEA Indonesia advocates for change from the inside, encouraging palm oil companies to adopt the Child Rights in Business Principles (CRBP) Toolkit, which was presented to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in July.
In advocacy work, positioning is an important step before performing any action. Positioning starts with knowing ourselves and understanding where we stand when facing the complexity of a problem. Acting is not only about knowing whether you want to act, but also about the timing, who you want to act with and deciding on your position: are you a voice at the front of the line or are you supporting others from behind and using your resources to help give voice to the unheard?
In the case of the complex situation of palm oil in Indonesia, ICCO’s position is clear. We stand for the people who were left behind, for the damaged environment, for the inequalities amongst people, for the marginalized with no options and those who depend on the palm oil industry. ICCO understands that the government feels supported by us, as our interest does not conflict with the national priority to gain profit. We also acknowledge that companies are happy with our work, as we don’t point fingers or create head-to-head conflicts, but we aim to reconstruct companies’ outlooks to go beyond profit and to take the state of our planet into consideration.
An issue that cuts across all of ICCO’s work globally is Responsible Business. We have the strong belief that companies can and should play a role in ensuring that businesses operate with respect to human rights and we envision them as human rights defenders. Companies often have as much power as states and have the responsibility to practice transparency and engage in sustainable practices. In alignment with this view, ICCO uses its knowledge to not only engage with companies, but to share that knowledge with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), such as CNV, NGO Council Indonesia, Penabulu Foundation, PKPA Indonesia and HUKATAN, the trade union members of CEA Indonesia.
From June onwards, the CEA members facilitated a series of trials to encourage palm oil companies to adopt the principles of Child Rights in Business Practices (CRBP), by developing a toolkit for plantation companies, and setting up a workshop to present it to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Jakarta. In the July presentation, the consortium advocated to mobilize change from the inside in order to eradicate and prevent child labour and to protect youth employees from the worst forms of work. We also supported the adoption of decent wages, respect to women’s rights, the adoption of free, prior and informed consent values in practice and in initiating new plantations.
CEA Indonesia believes that its inputs for the second-round of reviews for the Principle & Criteria of RSPO will be adopted and we expect to have responsible business practices in palm oil industry worldwide. While we know it will be difficult, we believe it is possible.