Today, 2 September 2020, EPOA, together with IDH and RSPO organized the 2nd Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue (SPOD), in which we addressed and discussed the sustainable palm oil challenges of 2020 and beyond. Due to COVID-19, SPOD2020 was converted into a virtual event. The 2.5 hour digital dialogue included several breakout sessions and had nearly 500 participants from all over the world.
A variety of topics
Hugo Schally of DG Environment of the European Commission explained the ongoing initiatives of the Commission addressing the legislative push to protect our forests. Daan Wensing, Director Landscapes Program at IDH, reviewed the progress made so far towards Europe’s target for 100% sustainable palm oil. In different breakout sessions, ‘Implementing Decent Living Wages’ and ‘Inclusive Approaches for Sustainable Landscapes’ were discussed.
The percentage of palm oil used in Europe in 2019 which is sustainably produced, is recorded at 86%. A great number, but we do see that the uptake of sustainably produced palm oil is stagnating. The conclusion that more action is needed to close the gap was commonly shared. Many stakeholders agreed on regulatory measures in Europe to reduce the impact on forests and give credits to the farmers that make sustainability happen.
Frans Claassen, chairman of the European Palm Oil Alliance stated that mandatory due diligence building upon existing private and national sustainablility standards with a multilaterial approach, promotes good governance and supports producing countries and farmers on the ground. “This is the only way forward”, he stated.
Besides legal measures and strong partnership, creating awareness among consumers is key. This was discussed during the session on ‘Changing the trends in consumer behavior’, in which Olivier Charrier of Ferrero, Dior DeCupper of Upfield and Daniel Salter from Tesco shared their opinions and actions.
The way forward
This well-organized and inspiring conference ended with the conclusion that working together is the only way to create change and generate real impact on the ground. EPOA will actively monitor and engage in the current developments of regulatory and non-regulatory measures at European level. Lastly, the Alliance will actively raise awareness of the importance of sustainable palm oil and fight more strongly against discriminatory misleading claims.