Sustainable palm oil pledge made by five European nations

Sustainable palm oil pledge made by five European nations

The governments of five European countries – the UK, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands – have pledged to make palm oil production 100% sustainable by 2020.

Officials have signed the Amsterdam Palm Oil Declaration in support of a fully sustainable palm oil supply. The pledge was made in support of a separate commitment from 11 private sector organisations. The so-called Commitment to Support 100% Sustainable Palm Oil in Europe is an initiative of the European Sustainable Palm Oil project, which has been convened by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and the Netherlands Oils and Fats Industry (MVO).

A more harmonised approach towards making palm oil production sustainable will spread its use across Europe and inspire reform in other regions, a spokesperson for the European Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry Federation, or Fediol, one of the organisations that signed the commitment, said.

The spokesperson said Europe has responsibility because it "is the second largest importer of palm oil in the world, and 7.3 million tonnes of palm oil enters Europe accounting for 11 to 12 percent of world production".

The federation is working closely with national palm oil initiatives, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and EU food industry associations, collaborating within the European Sustainable Palm Oil Advocacy Group, she said.

Barbara Gallani, policy and sustainability director of the UK trade body the Food and Drink Federation, another organisation that signed the commitment, said: "No individual player can succeed in tackling sustainability challenges on their own so initiatives such as the new European Commitment are crucial to driving systemic change across whole supply chains."

Another of the 11 signatories, the International Margarine Association of the Countries of Europe (IMACE), said the 2020 goal sounds "ambitious" but is doable. However, Siska Pottie, the association's managing director, said along with RSPO reforms, other steps are needed. "Supporting producing countries to help them develop in a sustainable way, further alignment of definitions and criteria for sustainable palm oil, and a global approach in addressing deforestation is necessary to stop overall deforestation in the industry are necessary."