Parliament approves GUE/NGL report on sustainable palm oil
"For the sake of European consumers and the citizens of producer countries, we need to stop the advance of deforestation due to palm oil production."
The European Parliament today adopted a report by GUE/NGL MEP Kateřina Konečná that calls on the Commission to move decisively towards the responsible cultivation of palm oil and to phase out its use for biofuels.
Commenting after the vote, the Czech Rapporteur urged the Commission not to ignore the report's recommendations:
"The EU must take urgent action to stem the damage to the environment from mass production of palm oil - fuelled by European consumption - if it is to take its commitment to the Paris climate agreement and the UN sustainable development goals seriously."
"The Commission must now push for more ambitious certification schemes and fight the human rights violations against plantation workers and indigenous communities. It is illogical that first generation biofuels contain palm oil, which are the cause of wildfires that release significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere."
Konečná expressed satisfaction with the broad support her proposals received from across the political spectrum:
"I thank the shadow MEPs for supporting my proposal and giving it the attention it deserves. Even if at times there were disagreements, the final outcome remains strong."
"The road ahead is difficult but we must be decisive. For the sake of European consumers and the citizens of producer countries, we need to stop the advance of deforestation due to palm oil production. For this we must ensure that the palm oil imported to EU markets comes from sustainable sources."
Speaking at the plenary debate last night, GUE/NGL MEP Anja Hazekamp was critical of the concept of palm oil certification:
“The certification system for sustainable palm oil has clearly failed. Sustainable palm oil does not exist. Let's stop calling things 'sustainable' when they are not sustainable.”
“We must reduce our dependence on conflict-fuelling raw materials such as palm oil, copper and coal that are detrimental to our planet. Now is the time to invest in crops that are native to Europe such as organic cultivation of flax, sunflower and rapeseed.”
Spanish MEP Lola Sanchez said that binding legislation is the first step needed:
“We cannot evade our responsibility as one of the largest importers and consumers of palm oil. Europe is part of the problem and therefore should be part of the solution.”
“As a first step, we need binding legislation to guarantee sustainability and traceability of the palm oil supply chain.“
German MEP Stefan Eck summarised the real costs of cheap palm oil:
“Palm oil production is extremely damaging to biodiversity and has destroyed large swathes of rainforest. Many species have lost their habitat and are on the road to extinction.”
“Palm oil is also harmful to humans as land grabbing by large corporations is driving indigenous communities to ruin. The price for cheap palm oil is paid by people, animals and nature,” Eck concluded.