Several initiatives have been taken to respond to these challenges, including by governments, private companies and NGOs. Interesting initiatives are the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), established in 2004 by international private companies and NGOs, and the recently launched Indonesia Sustainable Palmoil Standard (ISPO). Although consumers are not actively involved in these initiatives, they are often referred to when sustainability standards and certification are proposed or developed. However, it is unclear how consumer concerns are actually involved or whether these are used in an indirect manner to promote the interests of particular organisations. It is complicated for consumers to directly influence production practices because the palm oil origin can hardly be recognized in margarine, soap, cookies or biodiesel. A key question is therefore how consumer concerns play a role in these sustainability initiatives and what this means in the lives of consumers when they are operationalized.
This paper will analyse the ways in which the RSPO and the ISPO incorporate consumers and their concerns in developing and implementing their respective standards and discuss what this means more broadly for sustainable consumption.