Improving coherence of EU actions to avoid deforestation and human rights abuses
Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, has lost 27.5 million hectares (ha) of forest over the last 35 years; 7. 5 million ha of this was for agriculture, and of this 2.9 million ha was due to palm oil expansion. Despite recent decreases in its annual deforestation rate, in 2018 the country still ranked fourth in the world, for deforestation, and forest loss continues to be the major factor contributing to its greenhouse gas emissions. Expansion of palm oil estates has also led to loss of local peoples’ rights to forest areas.
The need for coherent actions to address these impacts has been recognised.
Trade arrangements, consuming country legislation, agricultural policies, development cooperation and private sector actions – including voluntary certification – can be combined to exert a powerful influence on how commodities are produced. As well as product safety and public health, these instruments can be used to address environmental and human rights concerns.
As the world’s second-biggest importer of palm oil, the EU has a large forest footprint in South–East Asia, where around 85% of all palm oil is produced. It therefore has opportunities through its trade and development cooperation policies to make significant contributions to these actions.
This report aims to document and describe existing initiatives and policies in relation to the palm oil trade between Indonesia and the European Union (EU). It is a background document meant to inform discussions between and within different stakeholders on how the EU can be more pro-active and coherent in its trade, climate, energy, agriculture, development and environment policies.