Moving towards sustainable palm oil in Europe creates an incentive to make the global palm oil supply more sustainable. NGOs like Greenpeace and Conservation International support the sourcing of credible, sustainable palm oil and the goal to achieve 100% sustainable palm oil in Europe.
Palm oil plays an important role in creating sustainable food. Replacing palm oil with other fats or oils is no solution to tackle environmental or health issues and negatively impacts food product properties.
These were the two key outcomes during the 2016 edition of the European Palm Oil Conference, a two day event held in Warsaw (Poland) and hosted by the European Palm Oil Alliance.
Frans Claassen, chair of EPOA says: “The European Palm Oil Industry is very much committed to sustainable palm oil. More awareness and public support from the food industry, retail, governments, politicians and NGOs for sustainable palm oil initiatives of the industry is needed to truly improve sustainability in the palm oil supply chain.”
No Palm Oil is No Solution
Participants at EPOC underlined the WWF Germany statement that “Switching from palm oil to other oils is no solution to tackle environmental degradation caused by unsustainable palm oil production.” WWF is clear that the only sustainable alternative to palm oil is credibly certified sustainable palm oil. Using other oils or fats is often worse for the environment: they need more land and so can drive even more loss of valuable habitats for wildlife like forests, savannahs and grasslands.
Annisa Rahmawati from Greenpeace stated that “boycotting does not solve the problem. Palm oil can and must be produced in a responsible way and not linked to destruction of forests and peatlands as well as social conflicts. The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) is the premium standard and our journey towards deforestation free palm oil”. However, Greenpeace stresses “that there are still many things need to be done to deliver progress on the ground. That is why industry wide action to tackle deforestation is needed, especially excluding non-responsible business practices.”
During the conference on 5 and 6 October 2016, about 200 scientists, food manufacturers, nutritionists, NGOs and policy-makers gathered in Warsaw for the yearly European Palm Oil Conference (EPOC). Conference speakers included scientists Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Brouwer, Prof. Dr. Ivonne Rietjens, Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury and Prof. Dr. Sebastiano Banni and representatives from WWF Poland, Greenpeace, Conservation International, Solidaridad and the Consumer Goods Forum.
In interactive work-shops delegates could compare the texture and taste of products with and without palm oil and experience the technical properties of the oil.
Through a virtual reality tour, the participants could experience a visit of a palm oil plantation and see the sustainable production and harvesting of the oil palm fruits in the tropics.
For the full press release in English click here