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EU: renouncing palm oil?

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Sustainable production and export criteria for palm oil and gradually  abandoning the promotion of biofuel are intended to create better protection of the rainforest and the threatened species that live therein. The Environment Committee of the European Parliament pledged its support for this objective in the vote on  the report on the subject of palm oil and the destruction of rainforests.

Mandatory minimum standards for cultivating oil palms

A statement tells us that, with the report that has the support of the European Greens, the Environment Committee is taking a clear approach to the protection of the rainforest and is demanding that the EU should import only sustainably produced palm oil. This should be regulated by means of mandatory minimum standards for the cropping of oil palms and a sustainability certificate for producers and traders of palm oil that must go far beyond the standards currently in place. The Greens are also demanding that further EU investment in non-sustainable palm oil projects should not be permitted.  The Environment Committee having voted in favour of the report, MEP Martin Häusling is expecting a similarly positive result when the vote is taken in the EU Parliament in April. “Then it's the turn of the  EU Commission to present  legislation to reflect this important initiative,” said Häusling.

Ecological disaster: abandoning the promotion of biofuel

The environmental spokesman of the Green/EFA parliamentary party in the  European Parliament gave this further explanation of the issue: “A high proportion of the palm oil imports in the EU, in fact 46 per cent, is currently burned in the form of biofuel, for which about a million hectares of land in the tropics are needed. This production is an ecological disaster. To create the palm oil plantations tropical forests are being cleared  mainly in south-east Asia on a gigantic scale, releasing huge amounts of CO2  and destroying the habitats of threatened species. Rising demand is now causing the operators of plantations to turn their attention to Central and West Africa.” He added that palm oil is a commonly used plant oil in the food industry and is to be found in practically every second supermarket product. “When we buy everyday products like detergents, soap and chocolate spreads we're contributing to the destruction of the rainforest and its habitats for rhinos, tigers and orang-utans,” says Häusling. This was why the Greens in the Environment Committee had advocated adopting a staged withdrawal by the EU from supporting biofuel.


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