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European Commission expects to finalise study on palm oil mid-November.

There is no specific EU policy on palm oil, but palm oil is connected with many EU policy areas, including deforestation, food policy, trade, employment, development cooperation, RED and biofuels, research etc. Although this report does not suggest policy options it will feed into the debate on how to make trade work for all, improving the positive impact of EU consumption on supplying countries whilst mitigating potential negatives.

The report comes in response to a context in which palm oil has received a lot of attention. Amongst others the European Parliament, drafted an own initiative report on palm oil. From the Member States, at least the signatories of the declaration of Amsterdam have put palm oil high on the agenda.

This report deals with two questions. It first attempts to broaden the knowledge base on the environmental, social and economic aspect of oil palm production and palm oil consumption, trade flows in palm oil, and actions undertaken by economic operators, the EU Governments, and third countries (in particular India and China).

Second, the report analyses existing sustainability standards (RSPO, ISCC, ISPO, and MSPO) for completeness, in particular concerning biodiversity and carbon aspects. They then appraise the gaps between such standards and the environmental aspects to be considered in order to achieve relevant EU and international objectives.

Before considering regulation, it is essential to understand the sector, the progress made through the voluntary commitments from industry, as well as the specific role of certification mechanisms. This document will be a key reference document.

IMACE, through ESPOAG, has shared technical input for the draft report to help advance the understanding of the sector. The European Commission will now consider developing a “menu” of policy options from which the stakeholders can select to respond to the idiosyncratic needs for a specific commodity in each country.

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