The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) is calling on the European Union to work together and improve sustainability standards, including for palm oil, through its recent Farm to Fork strategy.
“The Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy recently launched by the European Commission offers a major opportunity for us all to work together and further improve sustainability standards,” the CPOPC said in a release out of its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
The Farm to Fork Strategy is at the heart of the European Green Deal aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. Under the strategy a sustainable food system should among others, have a neutral or positive environmental impact, and ensure food security, nutrition and public health, making sure that everyone has access to sufficient, safe, nutritious, sustainable food.
The CPOPC said that over the last two decades palm oil has been the subject of unfair and counter-productive vilification campaigns in some European countries, driven by protection and commercial motives.
“European citizens and consumers are the main victims of such activities being misled by fake news with no sound scientific basis,” CPOPC said.
Palm oil, it said, has been proven to be among the most balanced products to guarantee secure, safe — but also sustainable — nutrition to the world’s population which was rapidly approaching the 10 billion-mark. CPOPC said that the palm oil industry has increased its efforts and availed itself of the most advanced, scientific and technological research to achieve unrivalled levels of food safety and environmental sustainability as proven by the most recent available data and scientific studies.
“The CPOPC Secretariat understands the desire of national governments to support domestic producers of vegetable fats and oils, particularly during such challenging times,” the CPOPC release said. “However, we are confident that the European Union will act in the interest of all its citizens, and with a view to global development, by guaranteeing the importation of, and access to, sustainable palm oil,” it said.
Most palm oil that arrived in Europe was already certified and met extremely high sustainability standards, it pointed out.
The CPOPC said that in order for the Farm to Fork strategy to have a significant impact and achieve its goals, everyone must work together at an international level and on a multilateral basis, it said.
It said that to be true to its values and norms, the European Union should promote balanced, non-discriminatory, non-unilateral and based on scientific basis legislative and regulatory measures.
“In essence, the European Union should work in partnership with countries concerned through consultation and dialogues.
The CPOPC said it acknowledged a recent statement by the European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, may indicate a new willingness by Europe to collaborate with palm oil producing countries to foster an even more sustainable supply chain.
“All perspectives must be considered. There must be multilateral discussion, rather that the default application of green deal diplomacy. We want to be part of this discussion, not mere spectators,” CPOPC said.