04-Apr-2017 @ 13:00
Conservative MEPs backed plans to encourage the sustainable production of palm oil to tackle deforestation and climate change, that were passed by the European Parliament today.
Palm oil is a widely used agricultural commodity which can be found in everyday food items, such as peanut butter and chocolate, in addition to its industrial and biofuel uses. The expansion of palm oil production has been widely criticised for its role in deforestation and burning of peat lands in some producing countries.
Conservative Environment spokesman, Julie Girling MEP, welcomed the vote saying: "This report takes an important step forward by focusing on how we can transition towards 100% sustainable palm oil which allows growers to earn an income whilst minimising the impact of production on our environment and the habitats of critically endangered species."
"I am delighted that this report calls for one single certification scheme at the EU level which consumers and businesses can easily recognise. This was a personal priority of mine, and I believe such a scheme will allow consumers to be confident that a product is made with sustainable palm oil."
The report lays down criteria which could serve as the basis for such a robust certification scheme at EU level, and calls for this to be supplemented by voluntary partnership agreements with producing countries and awareness-raising campaigns to make sure consumers are fully informed before purchasing items.
Mrs Girling added: "Rather than continuing to demonise palm oil, I believe this report strikes the right balance by focusing on the positive contribution of certification schemes, and how these might be improved going forward."