Deforestation & Palm Oil

Home - Palm Oil & Deforestation

EPOA fully recognizes the problem of deforestation, and continued deforestation for palm oil in particular. Many palm oil companies – including EPOA members – are committed to achieving zero deforestation and are actively implementing such policies.
Together, we drive the demand for sustainable palm oil: palm oil that is grown without deforestation. Instead of cutting down trees to create more land for palm oil crops, we use existing farm lands, and turn those into palm oil plantations.

Working together

An important aspect in this, is working together with smallholders or local farmers. Palm oil is an important income source for more than 3 million small farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. They are crucial players for bringing 100% deforestation-free palm oil into reality. They, however, often lack the resources to make this happen. This is why working together with smallholders, for example by providing trainings to increase their yield and productivity, is so important: having a higher yield per hectare means less incentives to cut down our precious forests while at the same time securing economic and social empowerment of small farmers around the world.

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Toward deforestation-free palm oil

We believe that it is crucial to tell the facts, but only action will ultimately solve the problem. At EPOA, we focus on the question of what the palm oil industry can do to protect forests. Together with civil society actors and researchers, the palm oil industry has been very active in setting High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) standards to include the protection of forests in Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and in corporate commitments. These definitions are now widely accepted and used by most sustainable palm oil certification schemes and initiatives. Sustainable palm oil companies are also supporting smallholders to increase their yield and productivity. Increased yield per hectare and support in replanting will take away the need for these farmers to clear additional land for agriculture.

We urge all stakeholders, such as governments and NGOs, to cooperate and work with the sustainable palm oil industry to implement commitments to achieving zero deforestation.

Time for regulatory measures from the European Commission

As EPOA we represent those companies within the palm oil industry that actually want to make a change: we are therefore in favour of EU regulations to push sustainable development forward. As Frans Claassen, Chair of EPOA says: “We can only make sustainable deforestation-free palm oil the norm in Europe if we introduce regulatory measures.”

Read our position paper now to find out more about how we would like to push for positive change, or read this article on FoodNavigator to learn more about how mandatory due diligence could contribute to making deforestation-free palm oil the norm in Europe.

Read our Position in support of European Regulations here!

Scientific research on the relation between palm oil and deforestation:

In the past years, a number of research have been performed to discover the relation between palm oil and deforestation. Below we have sourced a number of the reports on these researches, as well as a brief summary of its findings.

The impact of EU consumption on deforestation: Comprehensive analysis of the impact of EU consumption on deforestation

See figure 3-9, page 57. All crops together cause 19% of all Indonesian deforestation (page 56). Palm oil causes 43% of deforestation out of total of crops causing deforestation in Indonesia, i.e. 8%.
See figure 2-2, page 20 for global figures: ‘Global Gross deforestation 1990-2008’. 28% global deforestation by agriculture. Palm oil share is 8%, calculating 0.08*29 = 2.3% share palm oil in global deforestation.

Eliminating Deforestation from the Production of Agricultural Commodities

The Impacts of Oil Palm on Recent Deforestation and Biodiversity Loss

Oil palm and land use change in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea

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