Solidaridad calls for inclusiveness in European commitment to palm oil

Representatives from eight national sector initiatives came together to sign the Commitment to Support 100% Sustainable Palm Oil in Europe on 7 December in Amsterdam. By signing this agreement, these parties declared their intention to cooperate and support each other in transitioning to a fully sustainable palm oil supply chain in Europe by 2020. Solidaridad supports this kind of solution for promoting the use and uptake of sustainable palm oil at the European level. It is, however, important to pay attention to smallholder inclusive supply chains and a transparent process.

Commitment of European government

The Commitment to Support is developed by the European Sustainable Palm Oil (ESPO) project of The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and MVO (the Dutch oils and fats industry). It was presented on 7 December 2015 to the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen. She, together with envoys from other European countries, immediately declared support by presenting the Amsterdam Palm Oil Declaration in support of a fully sustainable palm oil supply by 2020. It was signed by the governments of Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Don't forget the smallholders

It's effective to work at the European level on the sustainability problems around palm oil. Active government support is essential for transitioning to more sustainable supply chains. Only through cooperation with influential parties is it possible to join forces and achieve real change. But don't forget the smallholders! Companies should not only look for cost-efficient solutions, but invest to include smallholders in their journey to a sustainable palm oil sector.

Be transparent

Another significant point to consider is the importance of a transparent process at the secretariat or steering board level, as well as in progress reporting. In order to include specific interests of society, NGOs should be informed and consulted in relevant decision making processes and in the preparation of documents. By including all parties, it is possible to ensure that this European overarching commitment is not compromising existing agreements.

Read more about Solidaridad's project in Colombia, where RSPO certification of Indupalma was achieved with the inclusion of 500 smallholders and around 7,000 palm oil workers.