Palm oil presents some revealing challenges as regards the tricky task of implementing the EU Deforestation Regulation. In the second half of April, the European Parliament and the European Council are expected to adopt the new EU regulation against deforestation (EUDR). The new regulation is a major milestone showing the commitment of the European Union to contribute to reducing global deforestation. It should strengthen the EU’s position as the champion of deforestation-free supply chains. However, while this all sounds promising, it will also mark a race against the clock for millions of smallholders in the global south. This can be seen clearly when we look at the palm oil supply chain. This week The Netherlands Oils and Fats Industry (MVO), the Council for Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) and Solidaridad published a briefing paper to explain the implications of the new Regulation for oil palm smallholders at the beginning of the palm oil value chain. The paper includes recommendations for how the EUDR can be implemented in a way to avoid smallholder exclusion and ensure a just transition.
The EUDR has the potential to be a game changer in the fight against deforestation, and we are excited to see how it sets the stage for things to come. There are risks, of course, but if its implementation takes account of lessons from ground and addresses specific challenges of each commodity, it can really drive meaningful impact. With the right additional measures and approach to implementation, the EUDR can help smallholders be part of the Green Deal. This should be taken into account. To quote Von der Leyen, the transition will “either be working for all and be just, or it will not work at all”.
To support the EU in implementing the EUDR with regard to palm oil, we offer this briefing paper ‘Implications of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) for oil palm smallholders’ to explain the supply chain realities and dynamics at work in this complicated chain and to suggest ways in which the EUDR can be made to include and support smallholders on their way to sustainability, and ensuring that they too can benefit from the global market.