The palm oil industry in Southeast Asia has had disastrous effects on local communities and the environment. Should Europe wean itself off of the controversial substance? MEPs on the Environment Committee say biofuels should be entirely free of palm oil.
This baby ape has just been rescued and is on her way to jungle school. She is one of many Bornean Orangutans to have been orphaned by increasing deforestation. The cause? A booming palm oil industry. The EU is the second biggest palm oil consumer in the world. Although it is trying to become the most important player regarding how to limit its production, we still have it in the products where it does not belong and where it is completely useless. Barely used some 30 years ago, palm oil can now be found in a variety of products like margarine, chocolate spread, crisps, but also cosmetics, detergent and...biofuel, which accounts for half of all imported palm oil. And demand is likely to rise, unless the EU does something about it. I believe that the European Parliament should be very ambitious and we should clearly say to the Commission that there should not be any palm oil in biofuels, that we do not want it there and that we want biofuels to be developed that do not destroy people’s lives and biodiversity. EU lawmakers set a cap on crop-based biofuels in 2015, but the Parliament’s Environment Committee is pushing for a bolder, faster response. Up for debate is how fast palm oil can be phased out.