RSPO vs. Rainforest Alliance: What’s the Difference?

Palm oil is a globally traded agricultural commodity used in 50% off all consumer goods, including, but is certainly not limited to, lipstick, prepared food, body lotion, and bar soap. Almost all soap base used to manufacture bar soap for Twincraft Skincare’s many customers is derived from palm oil.

We source thousands of metric tons of soap base each year; therefore, we believe we have an important role to play in encouraging the use of sustainable palmOur commitment to the planet, the environment, and a responsible supply chain led us to join the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil many years ago, but lately, our customers have also been asking us about Rainforest Alliance certification. Here we break down what each certification entails, and what they mean to today’s consumers.

Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was founded in 2004 with the goal of promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through credible global standards and the engagement of key stakeholders. RSPO focuses its attention on Indonesia and Malaysia, areas that were compromised when jungles were clear cut and burned in the early 2000s.

The organization works with stakeholders from all seven sectors of the palm oil industry:

  • Oil palm producers
  • Processors
  • Traders
  • Consumer goods manufacturers (ex: Twincraft Skincare)
  • Retailers
  • Banks and investors
  • Environmental and social non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

RSPO has developed a set of social and environmental criteria with which companies must comply in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). When these criteria are met, they help minimize the negative impact that palm oil can have on communities and the environment. CSPO standards help to:

  • Sustainably fill increasing global food demand
  • Support affordable food costs
  • Support poverty reduction
  • Protect social interests, communities, and workers
  • Protect wildlife and the environment

RSPO has a multi-tier certification system for registering products that contain palm, and these certifications are available to our customers, depending on type of palm oil used. We are able to offer all of our bases as certified sustainable through the RSPO Book & Claim (Credit) supply chain system.

Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is a NGO that works to conserve biodiversity and promote ecological balance in agriculture, forestry, and tourism. They’ve worked for over 30 years to protect wildlife habitats and fight climate change with a focus on forest health. They certify products and businesses based on its own sustainability standards, with different criteria for agriculture, forestry, and tourism.

The Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard is the standard applied to palm oil plantations, and is targeted towards palm development in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. This standard is focused on supporting farmers and communities, protecting forests and wildlife, improving incomes, and supporting a more sustainable industry.

coffee beansThe Rainforest Alliance is focused on crops other than palm oil, such as cocoa and coffee, and its seal assures consumers that the product they are purchasing has been grown and harvested using environmentally and socially responsible practices. They require that crops must be segregated and traceable through the supply chain (RSPO has different certification levels for each level: Segregated, Mass Balance, and Identity Preserved), and they now allow mass balance handling of cocoa, with the opportunity to expand this claim to other crops.

The Rainforest Alliance is itself a member of RSPO, and their standards align closely with RSPO's. RSPO is more palm oil-focused, and targets Indonesia and Malaysia as areas that need their assistance the most, while the Rainforest Alliance spreads its resources out to other areas, helping promote sustainable practices for a variety of crops.

Our Stance

Twincraft Skincare believes that it is our duty to promote the use of sustainable palm and make as big an impact as we can on the industry through successful partnerships and strategic development. We believe that RSPO has the scope, resources, and expertise to do the most good for the environment, communities, and wildlife who are impacted by palm production. We applaud the Rainforest Alliance for its efforts within the palm industry, and are happy to discuss the benefits of using one certification over the other - contact our team to learn more about our work with RSPO, the certifications that we can provide, and the benefits of including sustainable palm in your brand's personal care products.