The Alliance’s response to the remarks by the Minister of Ecology
On 17 June 2015, following the televised speech by Ms Ségolène Royal, the French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development, in which she claimed that palm oil contributes to deforestation, the French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil objects to the Minister’s remarks and reemphasises the existence of the sustainable palm oil supply chain. The members of the French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil have pledged that, by the end of 2015, they will source palm oil that is 100% RSPO-certified (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), and are planning on even stricter requirements for 100% of their supplies by 2020. We therefore find it regrettable that these collective efforts are not recognised and encouraged by the French government, following the example of the Dutch government, which has set the objective of sourcing 100% certified sustainable palm oil in Europe by 2020. Today, NGOs agree that removing palm oil from consumer products is not the solution and that we must encourage development of a sustainable palm oil supply chain. This is why, since 2013, the French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil, composed of companies that use this ingredient and professional organisations, along with all involved stakeholders (producers, NGOs, governments, refiners, user companies, distributors and end users), has been committed to developing collaborative solutions to halt deforestation, thereby protecting the natural habitat of endangered species while providing positive economic and social impact for local populations and communities. This commodity chain is undergoing a tremendous transformation and practical, effective solutions do exist. The CIRAD has been working for years to develop improved seeds that let small producers increase their production capacity without resorting to deforestation and destruction of great apes’ natural habitats. Palm oil also has a yield that is six to eight times that of other oils requiring similar surface areas for cultivation. Contrary to popular belief, sustainable palm oil could be one of the solutions of the future to meet the global challenge of feeding nine billion people by 2050; furthermore, oil palm cultivation provides a direct or indirect livelihood for millions of people in the producer countries: three to seven million people in Indonesia, 600,000 people in Malaysia, two million people in Côte d’Ivoire and several million families in other African countries.