The Palm Scribe

French Commission Rules in Favor of Indonesia in Challenge against Palm Oil Advertisement

The French Advertising Deontology Jury (JDP) has ruled in favor of the Indonesian Government in the case of a complaint filed against a palm oil advertisement published in the French city of Lyon, the Indonesian trade ministry said.


In a release dated Tuesday (26/6), the Trade Ministry said that the JDP ruling, which said that the palm oil advertisement published by the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in Lyon did not violate the rules, was issued on June 15, 2018.

“The JDP verdict is a legal victory for Indonesia because the JDP verdict sees that the complaint made by the plaintiff, deeming that the ITPC Lyon advertisement was being not true and unfounded, did not stand,” Oke Nurwan, the trade ministry’s Director General for Foreign Trade said in the release.

With the victory, the Indonesian government has managed to defend the image of the Indonesian palm oil as a product that is more sustainable and more environmentally friendly.

But Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita warned in the same release that Indonesia should remain vigilant in safeguarding Indonesian palm oil.

 “Indonesia must remain ready for steps that may possibly be taken by the European Union to prevent again the entry of palm oil into the European market,” Lukita said.

 The advertisement was published by ITC Lyon in November last year and said that Indonesian palm oil is more sustainable and more ecologically friendly. It was aimed at improving consumer awareness in Lyon of the progress made in the Indonesian palm oil sector that is now more sustainable and greener.

A complaint was filed with the JDP later in the same month but the ministry did not identify the plaintiff. On December 8, 2017, JDP sent a letter to ITC Lyon requesting data to support the claim that Indonesian palm oil was more sustainable and ecological. The data was sent to the JDP about one month later.

But while the process was ongoing, following a policy of Minister Lukita, the Lyon ITPC was closed down on May 1, 23018 and its operation moved to Turkey and therefore the case was taken over by the Trade Ministry, the Indonesian embassy in Paris and the legal counsel for the Indonesian government.

The Indonesian delegation attending a hearing on the case on June 1, 2018, was led by Pradnyawati, Director for Trade Security at the Trade Ministry and included representatives from the Indonesian embassy in Paris, the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) and the Secretariat for the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO.)

The conclusion of the JDP was that in general, the JDP recognized that the data and documents submitted by ITPC Lyon showed that there have been an evolution in-laws and palm oil production certification in Indonesia, This, it seemed, pointed toward a palm oil production that is more sustainable and more environmentally friendly although this was not clearly stipulated in the advertisement.

The complaint of the plaintiff was also not made part of the JDP verdict and therefore it could be concluded that JDP substantively approved that the ITPC Lyon advertisement did not violate the rules governing the terminology of sustainable development.

 “The legal counsel of the Indonesian government sees that the JDFP did not deem that the advertisement was misleading or not true as the plaintiff had accused. In this case, the JDP did not reject the substance or content of the advertisement,” Nurwan added.

However, the JDP also ruled that the advertiser must show in the advertisement, how the activities or products are as claimed. If explanations are necessary, they should be clear, readable or audible and must meet the criteria for mentioning recommendations, as required under the French Authority on Professional Advertising Regulations (ARPP).

The plaintiff and the defendant were given 15 working days, starting from June 15, 2018, to file an appeal before the verdict is published on the JDP website.
Amid the relentless attacks on palm oil, including from Indonesia which is the world’s largest producer of the commodity, the Indonesian government is continuously battling deforestation and global warming, among others by supporting a sustainable and environmentally friendly palm oil production.

Besides being a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil(RSPO) that was formed in 2004 and played a role in defining sustainable palm oil and the certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), Indonesia also is promoting ISPO certification which also is part of efforts to better supervise production. This ISPO certification reinforces good management practices such as the good agricultural practices, Good Production, the ISO 9001, 14000, and 2600 ISO standards, and the Health and Work Safety Management (SMK3).

Share This