KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — The palm oil industry is encouraged to come forward for early consultation following new European Union (EU) or United Kingdom (UK) regulatory initiatives on sustainability to minimise the impact of products placed on the EU market.
FratiniVergano lawyer Paolo R. Vergano said the move was critical as the EU aims to pursue legislative initiatives on sustainability in forests, food, farming, land-use and supply chains, which might affect trade and palm oil.
“The engagement should include feeding information; arguments and technical; and commercial and legal positions, both as industry and exporting countries,” he said during the virtual Malaysian Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS Digital 2021) today.
Hence, he said the measures developed and adopted must be product-neutral, based on transparent, verifiable and existing “science” or information, so as not to be de jure or de facto discriminatory.
Elaborating on the initiatives, the EU-based lawyer said minimising the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with products placed on the EU market would promote the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains.
“As such, it is clear that this regulatory initiative will likely target palm oil, either intentionally or because of the natural link between palm oil and forests.”
Vergano also said an initiative to improve the corporate governance framework, including the requirement for the food industry to integrate sustainability into corporate strategies, was also expected to be pursued following the European Green Deal and the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy.
Therefore, he said all producing countries should start having one mutual standard that is being recognised by all countries but at the same time must not forgo their own nation’s standard for palm oil.
“There are plenty of tools, both judicial and administrative in nature, that can be used in practising sustainability but it has to be analysed and taken on an individual case basis,” he added. — Bernama