One of the many shallow spins Athena uses is her contorted argument that RSPO’s principles “for growers to be RSPO certified” (emphasis added; see top right image) “govern members in the RSPO” (emphasis added; web archive) and are vague. As always, her fallacious argument is very easy to debunk:
- Athena’s image is severely outdated, taken from a decade old standard. This standard was revised in 2018 (see middle right image) and will be revised again during 2022-2023.
- Growers are but one sub-set of all RSPO members, just as (e.g.) individuals and environmental/social NGOs are. The RSPO clearly details its process for membership application, the Shared Responsibility of all members and their Annual Communication of Progress. Clearly, there’s little left to vagueness in RSPO’s requirements for members.
- RSPO’s Principles and Criteria are the overarching guidance for detailed requirements for the production of sustainable palm oil*. For instance, the requirements to support smallholder inclusion (Principle 5) is broken down into various – sometimes very detailed – requirements like Indicator 5.1.4: Evidence is available that all parties, including women and independent representative organisations assisting smallholders where requested, are involved in decision-making processes and understand the contracts. These include those involving finance, loans/credits, and repayments through [Fresh Fruit Bunch] price reductions for replanting and/or other support mechanisms where applicable (see bottom right image).
* Separate documents cover the requirements for a.o. independent smallholders and supply chains.
In a nutshell, Athena failed to perform even the most basic due diligence on her ”evidence” – yet again – and clearly misleads her followers by cherry-picking evidence that fits her false narrative about the RSPO.