GemOffenerBrief

Palm Oil and Biofuels Policy Reform

February 2015

Open Letter to the European Parliament

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

Europarl_logoWe, the undersigned organisations, as representatives of civil society from across Asia, Africa and Latin America, are seriously concerned about the devastating impact that Europe’s demand for biofuels is having on our forests and millions of our people, and about its significant contribution to rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Soon, you will vote on vital reforms to EU biofuels policy. Unless you take action to restrict demand for biofuels, Europe will continue to force the transformation of our countries’ vital forests, community lands and biodiversity hot-spots into industrial-scale, monoculture oil palm plantations.
The EU’s use of palm oil for biofuels has been rising rapidly, and increasing EU biofuels consumption is also indirectly driving palm oil expansion globally.
Escalating demand for palm oil means an unsustainable global land footprint. Around 90% of the world’s palm oil is grown in Indonesia and Malaysia. The Indonesian government plans to double palm oil plantations to around 28 million hectares by 2020 – an area larger than the entire United Kingdom.
Malaysia’s existing plantations cover over 5 million hectares, with planned expansion of 60,000-100,000 hectares a year on customary lands. In Latin America, Colombia recorded over 476,000 hectares of land allocated for palm oil in 2013 and Peru experienced a five-fold increase in oil palm plantations over the past 15 years: 72% of new plantations expanded into forested areas. The Philippines and West and Central Africa have been earmarked as the new frontiers for oil palm development: since 2001, foreign companies have signed deals allocating nearly 4 million hectares to palm oil in West and Central Africa and the Philippine government plans to expand to up to 8 million hectares – 20, 000 hectares of which are within the Palawan UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve.

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read the complete letter here (PDF)

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