Several European executives urge Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer, to play an active role in supporting European palm oil industry. The industry is under review to be banned on the grounds of preventing deforestation.
MVO Sustainable Development Program Manager Eddy Esselink said that many parties in Europe recognize the importance of oil palm role. MVO is a member of European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA). According to Esselink, Indonesia’s role in the struggle in Europe is needed to support the palm oil industry. “We need help to affirm that palm oil has a direct positive impact on the community directly,” he said when speaking at an oil palm conference in Bogor on Tuesday (24/4).
Neste Oil Senior Associate Steven Gust, also speaking at the conference, believed there is still time to convince people to support the palm oil consumption in Europe. “Now is the right time to spread positive messages on palm oil and convince them (the EU) to continue supporting the palm oil industry development,” he said.
Esselink affirmed the role of palm oil commodity is crucial and growing. “We are aware that sustainable development is important. The palm oil ban is not a solution,” he said.
Esselink explained that the EU is currently experiencing confusion and dilemma related to palm oil consumption. “The EU is also aware that palm oil is important, but they have to do something for they are questioned by many parties,” he said. He further explained that NGOs, governments, and business players have to be approached in order to support the palm oil development. The approaches are differentiated according to the geosocial conditions in each country.
One way is to undertake development based on the landscape approach. Esselink sees this as a universal solution that can be accepted by all parties.
According to Esselink, the debate in the EU is not only for the sake of European community but also for the sustainability of the palm oil industry worldwide. Palm oil is the largest contributor of non-oil revenues to Indonesia and feeds around 30 million Indonesians directly or indirectly.