It is no secret that the palm oil sector has been facing substantial pressures​ from the European Union (EU) which has been churning out policies​ which are expected to affect international trade in the name of sustainability.

Palm oil producing countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have been taking steps to improve in the areas singled out by the EU, such as deforestation​ and labour​, but so far there remains no signs that the EU is willing to compromise or ease up on the pressures being placed on palm oil, including a rampant ‘Palm Oil Free’ labelling campaign with a strong impact on food and beverage products.

At the recent international Palm Oil Sustainability Debate, held as part of the Dubai World Expo, supply chain expert Professor Pietro Paganini, who hails from Italy, called out the EU for being ‘discriminatory’ in its policies against palm oil, and trying to cut off the sector without having a suitable alternative available to meet consumer needs.

“Europe is striving very hard to achieve sustainability goals, and is taking a very proactive approach to this – but we need to also look at the unintended consequences of this approach,”​ said Prof Paganini, who is also the Founder of Competere – Policies for Sustainable Development, a think tank focused on supply chain sustainability.

“As it is, we can see that the prices of goods and the levels of inflation in Europe are very high, and it should at least be considered that some of the proposed sustainability policies need to be reviewed and given some rational thought [as] some of the EU’s current decisions are not science-based but more emotionally-driven – They are starting from a point of needing to save the planet, but fail to consider the needs of the 7.6 billion people living on the planet.”

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