MEPs vote to tackle environmental impact of palm oil production

Julie Girling MEP has backed plans to encourage the sustainable production of palm oil to tackle deforestation and climate change, passed by the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

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 destroying of peat habitat in some producing countries.

Mrs Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar and Conservative environment spokesman, said: “This report takes an important step forward by focusing on how we can move towards 100 per cent sustainable palm oil. That will allow growers to earn an income while minimising the impact of production on our environment and the habitats of critically endangered species.

“I am delighted that this report calls for a 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.”