The European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA), together with other industry associations, stakeholder companies, and civil society bodies, today issued a joint call to action for all European stakeholders to actively support the Sustainable Palm Oil Choice initiative. The appeal was made at the Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue event in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Current participants include Agropalma; Cargill; Sime Darby Plantation; Fedepalma; FONAP (Forum Nachhaltiges Palmöl); the Italian Union for Sustainable Palm Oil; Lipidos SA; Nutella; Olenex; Orangutan Land Trust (OLT); Palma Organica; Solidaridad; Robeco and the Spanish Foundation for sustainable Palm oil.
The Sustainable Palm Oil Choice initiative’s objective is to drive the uptake of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) by all stakeholders in Europe’s food manufacturing value chain. The goal is for all manufacturers and retailers to choose and use only CSPO in their production and to achieve the target of 100% CSPO in European food manufacturing by 2020.
Acceptance and adoption of sustainable palm oil faces challenges at both ends of the manufacturing sector. Because of palm oil’s negative market image with consumers, it can prove difficult to engage smaller companies to embrace CSPO. At the same time some of the bigger companies that are already fully certified are starting to move away from palm oil altogether. Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of the Orangutan Land Trust explained why this is such a problem.
“Our supporters have been confused by messages in the public domain, such as from some UK retailers, that a blanket boycott of palm oil is desirable – a position we categorically do not share. Palm oil doesn’t have to result in deforestation or biodiversity loss, and by demanding responsible palm oil, we can help ensure that it doesn’t. As someone who has been working as conservationist for over 25 years with a specific focus on protecting orangutans where they are found, I am personally committed to supporting and promoting 100% sustainable palm oil in Europe.”
The Sustainable Palm Oil Choice initiative seeks to reverse this and increase market acceptance for CSPO by engaging stakeholders who are already committed to it to speak up for CSPO and inspire others not only to choose and use it, but also to advocate for it. Manufacturers, NGOs and producers are being particularly targeted, as they have a key role to play as catalysts helping to drive change within their respective spheres.
Commenting on the call to action, Frans Claassen, EPOA’s Chair, said:
“We have to empower companies, retailers and consumers to choose sustainable palm oil. I believe we will achieve this by telling honest stories about the impact of sustainable production on the ground. What is your story? As a part of this initiative EPOA has launched a campaign platform that will showcase explanatory videos, participants’ testimonials, examples and best practices. These stories explain why people believe in CSPO and allows companies and NGOs to speak up. The platform will also include a progress reporting tool in the shape of an interactive map of Europe with the latest monitoring data for individual countries as well as showing progress in palm-oil producing countries.”
Making the choice for sustainable palm oil across Europe helps safeguard rainforests and their biodiversity across the world. Choosing palm oil that is produced sustainably also protects smallholders, uplifts their earning potential, and helps create fair and socioeconomic conditions for growers and workers active across the global palm oil supply chain. Companies and organisations wishing to join the Sustainable Palm Oil Choice initiative can do so at sustainablepalmoilchoice.eu. View video about the certified sustainable palm oil choice here. View video about EPOA here.
Issued by Group Communications, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad